‘…the hearts of the people melted, and became like water.’ Joshua 7:5
Even the most seasoned believers experience failure and the big question at such times isn’t, ‘How could I have let that happen?’ but, ‘What’s the right way to deal with it?’
Indulging in self-condemning thoughts comes naturally to us, but it does no good. It just produces discouragement, and adds failure upon failure.
As a result of Achan’s sin, Israel was defeated at Ai and fled before their enemies. Like us, in response to their defeat, ‘…the hearts of the people melted, and became like water.’ Their faith forsook them, and ‘…all spirit [was] knocked out of them’ (v. 5 TM).
Even their leader Joshua ‘…fell on his face…’ (v. 6 TM), despairing that things could only get worse! Have you been there? Do you recognise the pattern? Defeat, discouragement, despair, and more defeat.
What was God’s response? ‘Get up. Why are you grovelling? Israel has sinned…So get started. Purify the people…’ (vv. 10-13 TM).
He’s a God of repentance—not wallowing in remorse; a God of getting up—not lying down in failure!
Holiness is a path, not a place. When you’re off the path, God’s plan is simple—get back on it immediately. Confess your sin (1 John 1:9).
By faith accept God’s mercy and forgiveness. And refuse satan’s condemnation (Romans 8:1).
‘…Forgetting those things which are behind…press toward the goal…’ (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV).
Like a child learning to walk, when you fall don’t lie down and give up. Minimise your down-time—get back up and walk again. Remember this : the moment that brings the awareness of sin should also bring the confession of sin and the assurance of forgiveness!
‘Return … I will heal your backslidings …’ Jeremiah 3:22
What’s the root of our failures? Failure doesn’t lie in the strength of the enemy, or our own weakness, or God’s reluctance to help us overcome.
Israel was defeated by a small town after having conquered mighty Jericho. Their failure, like ours, was the result of unconfessed sin (Joshua 7).
But once their sin was brought to light and dealt with, God spoke encouragement to them. ‘… Don’t be timid … Take all your soldiers .. .I have turned the king of Ai over to you – his people, his city and his land’ (Joshua 8:1 TM).
Sin unacknowledged will keep you defeated, but sin confessed will bring you forgiveness and restoration that leads to victory.
Author Hannah Whitall Smith tells of moving into a new home. She noticed in the cellar a very clean-looking cider cask sealed at both ends. She debated whether to open it and see what was inside, but decided to leave it undisturbed.
Each spring and autumn when the cleaning was being done, she’d remember the cask but put off opening it.
Unaccountably, moths began to fill the house. She used every means she knew to get rid of them, without success. At last, remembering the cask, she opened it and thousands of moths poured out!
The lesson here is simple : anything we cling to that’s contrary to God’s Word will cause us to fall before our enemies.
Always keep before you David’s prayer : ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart … see if there be any wicked way in me …’ (Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV).
Whatever God shows you, confess it immediately and by faith receive His forgiveness and cleansing. Then you’ll be able to stand victorious before your enemies.
The above readings were taken from The Word For Today by UCB.