It’s been over a year since I began this blog. The reason I started it was because someone suggested it would be a means of bringing more people to my website to potentially purchase my books. That sounded like a winner, but I was a little worried that I wouldn’t have enough to write about on a regular basis. I think the first 4-5 posts highlighted different aspects of my books, then I was at a loss--not that the books are bad, they are actually very good, but they are already written and it’s hard to keep writing about them. I reached an impasse with that idea and didn’t post a blog, I was distraught. Then August 21, 2017 happened. If you recall, that was the Total Solar Eclipse...and that sighting of light gave me a blog like none other. I think that post changed everything. Rather than continue to write about my books, I began writing about signings of light from THE BOOK that always produces fruit. (Isaiah 55:11)
Last Sunday, our Pastor, in the wake of Hurricane Florence, preached about why natural disasters happen. He referenced Genesis 3:7, To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, not to eat from, cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.’” Essentially, he said it was because of Adam and Eve’s sin that the Earth was cursed and remains to be a difficult place to live. Well sin didn’t stop with Adam and Eve, it is thriving here on Earth.
In Joshua 6 we see that it is in God’s plan for the Israelites to take over Jericho although the gates were securely barred (v. 1) God tells Joshua that the battle strategy is that they should march around the circumference of the city once a day for six days while seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day they are to march around the city seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets, then the whole army should shout. At that time the wall of the city would collapse, then the army and others they could enter. (v. 3-5) I wrote a post some time ago about Noah and how detailed his instructions from God were. I noted that I didn’t seem to get such details in my instructions from God. I concluded that I was not a good listener, that He probably does give me the details, but I stop listening after the headline. These verses remind me to listen for God’s full revelation. Additionally, I realize that in just my reading of the battle plan, I questioned--how is this gonna work?” I tell you, sin is real. Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
So, the plan worked, as if there were any doubt God’s plan (full plan, not just the headline) would work. They burned the city sparing nothing but Rahab, the prostitute, and her family and those who belonged to her, because she had hidden the Israelite spies. Then they burned the city and put all of the silver, gold, bronze, and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house.
As we learned in Joshua 1, God’s provision is in exchange for our obedience. They were obedient and God provided. In the very next verse, Joshua 7:1 there is sin. “But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.” Achan, couldn’t resist some of the gold, silver, bronze and iron. He probably thought it was a small thing, not a big deal. There was plenty, no one would mind or even notice if he took some for himself. What little sins do I commit--maybe I alter a minor detail of a story to make it sound better, or maybe I let a bad word slip out of my mouth. Hmmm… What about you?
“So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.” That statement should make us all think more highly of our sin. In a society where sin is not just accepted, but promoted, we must be mindful that it is not man’s opinion of us that really matters. It’s God’s perception of us that matters--no one wants the Lord’s anger to burn against them.
As the Israelites attempted to take down Ai, 36 of them were killed, the others retreated running in fear. Joshua, their leader, feels responsible and goes to God in prayer. God tells him, frankly, that Israel has sinned, which is why they, “cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction.” (v. 12)
Our sin, even the sin we think is small, makes us unable to stand against our enemies. Moreover, sin makes us liable to destruction. Sometimes we take for granted all of the things God is doing for us without our realization. How many car accidents does He prevent--on just our ride to work each day? How many times has He kept thieves from stealing from us? How many times has He protected our children when they were in imminent danger? How many storms has He diverted? We have no idea--and I, personally, don't want to find out! Just thinking about becoming liable or vulnerable to destruction should convict our hearts and make us take a personal inventory. We can minimize sin in our hearts if we want to, but to have God remove His protections is unthinkable for me.
So after a careful process of elimination, Achan admits his sin, and he and his family are stoned and burned. (This made me think of how our associations can make us liable to destruction, too.) Joshua and 30,000 of his army set out to attack Ai with a new battle plan from the Lord. (Joshua 8:3-8) They are successful this time. ”Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the foreigners who lived among them.” Joshua 8:34 A little refresher of God's Word, can go a long way!
By Joshua 9, word had spread through the communities of Mediterranean Sea as far as Lebanon about Joshua and the Israelites. The kings were organizing to wage war against them. The Gibeonites, however, had a different strategy. They dressed in old clothes, draped old, worn, leather sacks over their shoulders, and put dry, moldy bread inside to make it appear they had traveled a long distance, although they had not. They approached Israelites to ask if they would form a treaty with them. To be even more convincing, they asked if they could be servants to the Israelites. Joshua 9: 14 tells us, “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.” They made the treaty and three days later, realized they had been tricked. It is very simple to inquire of the Lord. Even if we do not hear all of His instructions at first, He is always there to help guide us through life. We don’t have to make big decisions on our own, or weigh our pros and cons, or ask Facebook. We can, and should, always, go to the Lord in prayer.
Thank you so much for reading this extra long post today!
Have a prayerfully blessed week!
Copyright 2018 Kimberly Griffith Anderson
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.