Bible In One Year-Day 90 (Monday, March 31, 2014)
Commentary: Joshua7-9. There is power in praising God. The Angel assigned to welcome the Israelites only needed them to praise God for an accomplished job; Joshua 6:2 “And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.”
As far as heaven was concerned, Jericho was already marked “destroyed”, i.e. it was a past tense. All that the Israelites needed to do was to effect the heavenly order in praises. This is what praise is all about. It brings down God’s presence into the midst of His people and judgment into the camp of the His enemies, Psalm149. God takes residence in the praises of His own;
Psalms 22:3 “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”
Wonders and miracles cannot cease where God is highly exalted and His praises is deeply rooted in pure hearts;
Exodus 15:11 “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Psalm9:11).
If you know how to pray, you must learn to be better in praising Him. David said he prayed to God three times a day but he praised God seven times a day; you must beat the record of David. There are two things God hates, sin and doubt. He was with the Israelites in battle against Jericho but not with them in battle with Ai, a smaller people than the well fortified Jericho. Imagine how sin could make us fall in little battles. Things went wrong in two ways; the sin of Achan and Joshua who never asked God before going into battle with Ai. Joshua forgot that it was God, who gave the strategy to conquer Jericho, but because of the victory, he considered Ai to be smaller and he needn’t consult God. We need to check our steps if God is in it or not. What is written in the Bible and what God will say are different considerations even though they work together. When God speaks concerning the next step, the Spirit refers you to the scripture for encouragement, and this is how the Rhema and Logos work together. Jesus says “He will guide you INTO all truth”. That which is written in the scripture is what you stand on to confront the devil. The devil will want to use the Bible to confuse you, but the Spirit of God will guide you with it. Moses took the smallest matter to God. Each time you find yourself being ridiculed in small things, you need to do like Joshua who cried to God for the reason, Josh7. Sin should be dealt with as Achan was dealt with, i.e. do not have pity for sin, no matter how beautiful it appears, do away with it. Sin successfully nailed the SON of God to the cross, squeezed blood out of His body and fed Him with vinegar. Sin, in this context, blocked the progress of a whole nation and ridiculed them before a little set of people. You need to bury sin in the Valley of Achor, i.e the Valley of Trouble; this is the valley where sin is separated from God’s agenda. The story changed in chapter8 when they had taken care of the sin in their midst; their point of defeat became the point of victory, point of shame became the point of praise and point of ridicule became the point of award;
Joshua 8:18 “And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.”
Compare this with Deut8:18. Evidently, God loves His people but outright hates their sinful acts. It was not the faithfulness of the Israelites that brought them into the Promised Land but the faithfulness of God. A whole church can be stagnant if there is any unrevealed sin among the workers; consider the seven churches of Asia manor in the book of revelation. A whole family line can remained bound under the yoke of sin. The first battle a converted Christian should win is the battle with sin; Christianity could be frustrating if this is not won. Let sin be removed from the path of a Christian and you will see an untouchable Christian.
Psalms 125:3 “For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.”
God will not forsake a repentant sinner. Jesus said salvation had entered the house of Zacchaeus after he decided to repent from his sinful ways and make restitution where necessary. Salvation is given to sinners, but the kingdom of God is offered as reward to those who maintained their repentance and allowed the Holy Spirit to work on them. According to Webster dictionary, repentance is to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life. After Achan had been removed from the congregation, the defeat of the Israelites was capsized and they soared in victory. There is a great lesson we must learn from Joshua in this second battle with Ai;
Joshua 8:26 “For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.”
Every spiritual warfare requires perseverance, persistence and determination; don’t give up until mission is accomplished, however, abstain from all appearance of evil (1Thes5:22). Have no fellowship with unrepentant sinners but admonish them to abstain from their unrighteous ways. Don’t withdraw your spear of prayer until you have totally destroyed the works of the enemy, because that which you do not effect judgment upon might grow to become the seed of vengeance. All those running errands for the spiritual king (strong man), and the strong man, i.e. the authority behind the problem, must be wiped out totally. May the Lord grant you the grace to share a better testimony as we move to the next reading today in Joshua10-12. Keep the fire burning and alive.