The children of Israel had just defeated Jericho miraculously. Confidence was high. Morale was peaking. This new generation of warriors just experienced their first victory through God’s wall-crumbling power.
The next battle in their path was the small city of Ai. After their reconnaissance, the spies advised Joshua to send out only a few men. It was an easy victory… or so they thought.
However, when they attacked the city, the Israelites were chased into retreat and defeated. The soldiers came back to Joshua beaten and bloodied. They couldn’t overtake Ai. God was not with them.
Israel lost courage. Confusion and doubts began to rise up in their minds. Confidence hit an all time low.
What Joshua didn’t realize was that someone in the camp had disobeyed God. Against God’s command, Achan kept some of the spoil from the Jericho victory for himself and buried it under his tent. That disobedience kept the mighty men of Israel from defeating the small city of Ai.
After dealing with the sin, the Lord gave Joshua a new plan to defeat the small, but powerful city. With God’s help, the Israelites destroyed Ai.
When I read this story, it reminds me of my own journey into the Promised Land of peace. One day, I experienced a miraculous victory over panic attacks. I trusted the Lord and rested through the attack. My confidence ran high. I was walking proud.
Like Joshua, though, I headed out presumptuously into the next day. Panic again pounced on my mind. Dismay and doubts came crashing in. Where’s God? I thought. Why isn’t this working like it did yesterday?
Instead of trusting God and getting his guidance for my next battle, I went out in the confidence of my strength and my power. Like Achan, I had kept the spoils of the last victory to myself.
God should be our guide through each battle we face regarding panic and fear. If we remove all sin from our lives, seek his guidance and obey his instructions, we will be victorious. We will take the Promised Land of peace.
“Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies” (Psalm 60:11-12).
Prayer: Father, thank you for every victory I have experienced in the past because I know they came only through you. Reveal to me the times when I “went out on my own strength” and failed. Teach me how to seek your guidance and direction each morning as I face the battlefield for that day.