Joshua sent some of his men from Jericho to spy out the town of Ai, east of Bethel, near Beth-aven. When they returned, they told Joshua, “There’s no need for all of us to go up there; it won’t take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don’t make all our people struggle to go up there.” So approximately 3,000 warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated. The men of Ai chased the Israelites from the town gate as far as the quarries, and they killed about thirty-six who were retreating down the slope. The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events, and their courage melted away. Joshua and the elders of Israel tore their clothing in dismay, threw dust on their heads, and bowed face down to the ground before the Ark of the Lord until evening. Then Joshua cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side! Lord, what can I say now that Israel has fled from its enemies? For when the Canaanites and all the other people living in the land hear about it, they will surround us and wipe our name off the face of the earth. And then what will happen to the honor of your great name?” But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this?”
Joshua 7:2-10 NLT
I wanted you to get the full jest of the story, so the reading is a little longer today. Let me rehearse the story for you. Joshua and the children of Israel have just defeated Jericho. They must feel invincible after conquering such a well-fortified city.
Joshua sends spies to check out the next town. They return and report that Ai is only a small town, and they only need a small army to defeat it. Joshua makes a tragic mistake that costs thirty-six men their lives. Joshua assumes he knows what to do. Instead of asking God, “What is the plan to move forward,” Joshua makes a decision based on human intellect.
How many times do we make a tragic mistake because we fail to stop and consult with God? Perhaps, we think it is too small an issue to trouble God. We are smart enough and strong enough to handle this one. We will let God handle the big stuff while we handle the little stuff.
But Joshua doesn’t know about Achan. He doesn’t know Achan has brought a curse on the camp because of his sin. He doesn’t know that God is not going to protect them because of the sin of Achan.
Regardless of how smart we are, there is always something we don’t know. We need to be sure that we stay in step with the Spirit in the big and little things.
After the defeat, Joshua and the elders fall on the ground in front of the Ark of the Covenant. They are in mourning. After letting them lay there for a good while, God speaks and gives a command followed by a question. “Get up. Why are you laying on the ground?”
I love that. I think God is asking, “Why are you acting so defeated instead of asking me? Ask me what went wrong, and I’ll tell you how to fix this. Stop having a pity party, and let’s move forward.”
Sometimes, we spend a lot of time having a pity party over failure. God says to get up and take some time with Him to discover what went wrong and make it right. Get God’s plan on how to correct your mistake and be sure it doesn’t happen again.
Heavenly Father, I want You to be guiding every part of my day. I want Your wisdom in the big things and the small things. When I blow it, I want to come to You immediately to get Your wisdom on how to get going again. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for being my guide throughout my day.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying to you based on today’s reading.