In Today's Scripture Reading:
Sin of Achan; Israel defeated by Ai; judgment of Achan; Ai defeated; altar on Mount Ebal; Covenant renewed; Law read
The Lord held back the waters of the Jordan River at the time of year when the Jordan River overflowed its banks and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground into Canaan (Joshua 3:6-17). After the victory over Jericho, the Israelites were rejoicing. However, without seeking direction from God the Israelites attacked the city of Ai. The men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down (on the descent or slope) (7:5).
Nine times in the first six chapters of this book it is said that the Lord had spoken and directed Joshua (1:1; 3:7; 4:1,8,10,15; 5:2,15; 6:2). By not consulting the Lord, Israel's defeat was inevitable (7:2-5). Joshua had momentarily failed to consider that the Lord Himself was their Commander-in-Chief, that He alone could issue orders that would result in success (1:5). First, the evil sin by Achan had to be judged. Then, Joshua called on the Lord who directed him in the complete victory over Ai.
The Israelites' reasoning that led to their defeat at Ai has been repeated by most of us. When no serious problems seem to exist, we become overconfident, seemingly self-sufficient, and assume the Lord expects us to use "our own good judgment." However, apart from our submission to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the smallest temptation will prove to be too powerful for us. He alone imparts discernment as we read and desire to obey the Word of God.
Many begin their Christian lives in prayer and daily Bible reading but eventually become self-confident and forget that pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). The truth here is we don't win our victories because we are Christians any more than Joshua won the battle at Ai because he was an Israelite.
The Word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder (in two) of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner (judge, critic) of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
7:5 in the going down =b> on the way down the hillside; 7:6 put dust upon their heads =b> an expression of humility and sorrow; 7:11 dissembled =b> acted deceitfully; 7:19 give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord =b> confess the truth, which honors God.
Through the uncut stones of the altar (Joshua 8:31). Daniel saw Christ as a Stone which was not cut by human hands (Daniel 2:34,45). Jesus is our Chief Corner Stone (I Peter 2:6-8).
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in memory of Clarence Chauncey Staff: Ilene Wallace Government Official: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Country: Japan (126 million) off the eastern coast of Asia Major language: Japanese Religious freedom 57% Buddhist; 27% Shintoist and other Eastern religions; 3% Christian Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice over and pray for those who share the Good News (Nahum 1:15).
Optional Reading: John 6
Memory Verse for the Week: II Peter 1:4