Celebrating the Path to Blessing
Over the past couple of months, we have had a continual procession of birthday celebrations. It’s one of the joys of having a large family. Just quietly, with all the celebrations it is also a way to keep us broke! But, hey, they are all worth it!
The truth is, all of us like reasons for, and seasons of, celebration.
As we come to the end of Joshua 6, there seemed to be great reason for celebration as Israel defeated the great fortified city of Jericho. At the end of this chapter, we read that “The LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.”
But as we come to Joshua 7, something seems to have gone wrong, as the children of Israel went up against the relatively tiny city of Ai and suffered a humiliating defeat. Something had happened that would be a blockage to God’s blessing. What was it? Well, there were two things.
First, we read that a fellow called Achan had become “self-entitled” and decided that he would take some of the spoils of the Jericho battle for himself. This was after God had made it abundantly clear in Joshua 6:17, that all the spoils of battle were to be devoted to the LORD. How easily we can subtly become self-entitled, seeking to keep for ourselves, that which rightly belongs to God, whether it be our fame, honour, wealth or even the control over our own bodies. Remember that in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, the Apostle Paul reminds us that we are not our own, since we were bought at a price. Therefore, we should honour God with our bodies.
Achan’s sin had to be dealt with. And in this story, we are graphically reminded of the truth of Romans 6:23 that the “wages of sin is death.” But, praise God, that on account of Jesus’ death in our place, through repentance and faith we can experience the “gift of God” which is eternal life.
But there was another blockage to blessing in Joshua 7. It was simply the fact that there is no record of Joshua ever seeking the wisdom and council of God. It seemed that following the great victory over Jericho, Joshua had succumbed to the mantra of our age “You’ve got this!” Surely, this was yet another reason for the humiliating defeat against Ai.
Yet, as sin was faithfully acknowledged and dealt with, we see Joshua again, at the beginning of Joshua 8, listening for the voice of God, taking his lead and again pressing ahead in faith and utter dependence upon God. The result – a resounding victory and yet again, a cause for renewed celebration and thanksgiving for all that GOD had done on behalf of his people.
Perhaps there are some important lessons here for us in understanding better how we can continue to celebrate the path of God’s blessing.
Your fellow servant,
Peter Francis (Principal)