Defeat or Opportunity?

(From Joshua 7:1-13) 

The Israelites are defeated in only their second battle.  Joshua and the leaders tear their clothes in grief, put dust on their heads and bow down to the ground before the Ark.  Joshua questions God, accuses God of not taking care of them, tells God how embarrassed they’ll be now, and proclaims future defeat.

God lets Joshua vent and doesn’t reply until Joshua changes the focus from themselves to the glory of God’s name.  The glory of His name is the most important thing.  God’s reply is “Get up!”  He asks what they’re doing on the ground crying and moaning.  Their defeat is their own fault.  They sinned.  They disobeyed God’s instructions and requirements.  They took what He claimed for Himself and treated it as their own.  They stole and lied. 

Defeat and disappointment come to all of us and like the Israelites, we cry (and rightly so).  Then, like the Israelites, we begin to question God.  We ask why He arranged the circumstances of our life the way He did.  We ask why He’s letting us down (especially if we’re doing something we know He wants us to do).  We remind Him how embarrassed we are.  It feels as if our cries are falling on deaf ears. 

 We forget that it’s not all about us.  God’s plan is bigger than our little circle of influence.  We fail to realize that we can’t see or know the whole picture the way God does.  As long as we focus on ourselves, we will not be able to sense God’s presence, see Him work, or hear His voice.  As soon as we ask God for His perspective, we will begin to move past our pain and problems.  

The first place God will address is our sin – whether it was something we did, said, thought or felt in our hearts.  Whatever He brings up, we must deal with it, and the sooner, the better.  We must confess, agree with God we’re wrong, accept His forgiveness and ask for His Help to change.  We have to “Get up!” and get going.  

What if it’s not us?  Then we stand firm, waiting for God to move while we keep doing our best and expectantly watching for God’s blessing.  No matter what, we must be faithful to give honor and praise to God.  (Joshua 7:19)

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