As we proceed on the journey of occupying our place in the new season of the Lord, there are a multitude of blessings to be experienced. There are also some dangers that we must be aware of. This is especially true as we find ourselves becoming comfortable with the journey.
A Devastating Defeat
Joshua chapter 6 records the triumphant conquest of Jericho. One can only imagine the celebration in the camp of Israel after witnessing their God bringing about such a major victory for them. I am sure they were convinced at this point that nothing was impossible.
The next city to be taken was Ai. Joshua sent men to spy out the land and see what they were up against. Joshua 7:3 records the report the spies brought back.
And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.”
But look what happens next.
4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, 5 and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water. Joshua 7:4 – 5
The people were devastated. Why had their God let them down? What went wrong?
The Danger of Presumption
One thing you notice is that they did not consult the Lord before going up to Ai. They decided among themselves how this city should be taken. They didn’t know, however, that there was sin in the camp that greatly displeased the Lord (Joshua 7:1). Their failure to consult the Lord also revealed a presumptuous attitude that the Lord would bless their efforts regardless how they decided to do it. They could have spared themselves a lot of heartache by seeking the Lord before they set out.
This same thing could happen to anyone. After walking with God for a while in our new season, we can begin to become comfortable with the rhythm of it. This can then lead us to think that we don’t need to pray as much, or to listen quite as closely, because we know how it all works. We once again try to do life without God, something we were never designed to do. The Lord may let us go on like this for a little while, but He will eventually jerk the rug out from under us. I can’t tell you how many times I have busted my nose on the pavement because I have forged ahead without a clear word from the Lord.
Humility always wins the day in the Kingdom of God. There is a reason why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The poor in spirit are those who know their desperate need of God. They are also the ones who know the consistent joy and victory of living in the Reign.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.