About a month ago I downloaded a new bible study app from Proverbs 31 Ministries called the First 5 app. (More info here) Basically it takes you through a book of the bible and you read a chapter a day Monday – Friday then have a review on the weekends. So I just completed a study in Joshua. I have learned so much the past few weeks and am totally in love with this app but more so I am completely in love more and more with my bible and God’s word. I’m currently now in Judges however I wanted to talk today about Joshua chapter 7. I keep going back to this one and so thought I’d share. So the backstory is that the Israelite’s have conquered Jericho, the walls fell and all was destroyed. Well almost everything was destroyed. Rahab was spared as promised and then there was something else, Achan….oh Achan. He just couldn’t let everything be destroyed and he had taken some items that were to be set apart for the Lord. He didn’t just take them but he hid them and y’all this did not make the Lord happy. He was mad. The bible says “the Lord burned anger against the Israelites.” I don’t know about you but not a place I care to be in with the Lord mad at me. So moving on, they go and try to conquer Ai and what happens…well 36 men are killed and they are run out of the city by the people of Ai. They didn’t consult God beforehand. They built up pride and arrogance after conquering Jericho and it got the best of them. What happens next is what I’ve been waiting to get to. Joshua falls to the ground. He is burdened with defeat. He cries out to God and asks why He let them cross the Jordan just to have them killed. He has himself a good ol’ pity party. He obviously hadn’t forgotten that God got them across the Jordan but he does seem to have forgotten the amazing victory at Jericho. What God says to Joshua in verse 10 struck me like a ton bricks. “Stand up! Why are you on the ground?” You see Joshua spent a lot of time praying and crying out to God for guidance and protection and God was faithful in protecting Joshua and his people. But all it took was the sin of one to cause God’s provisions to be removed and for Joshua to fall trap to defeat and doubt. As he spent that moment on the ground crying out in prayer wondering what happened God looked down and told him to get up!
You see sometimes I feel we can be a lot like Joshua. We can pray about things and seek God’s guidance and protection. We pray for God’s will over our lives. We pray that He clearly leads and directs us. We pray for our paths to be laid out before us. We get caught trying to make prayer our action. Have you ever been there? I know I have. You pray about something so much and so often that you may overlook the very thing you are praying about. I’m not in any way saying don’t pray. No no no! Prayer is vital in the Christian life. You must keep an open conversation going with God. It is crucial. I’m just saying that sometimes our fear, our feeling of defeat, our discouragement can lead us to spend more time crying out to God than actually getting up and doing the very thing He has called us to do. Meaning you cannot just pray the prayer or talk the talk. You must stand up and go! You must put forth effort and get into action. You must walk the walk! You hear it all the time but I know I fall into this trap over and over again. Take time from prayer and be still. In Psalms 46:10 the bible says”Be still and know that I am God.” Listen to God and what He is telling you. Then when times get hard and your path becomes a little rough don’t lose that. Remember He will never leave you. Never forsake you. Don’t forsake Him. Don’t leave Him.
God showed Joshua His reasoning behind what happened. He told him how to deal with it and He laid out the consequences of Achan’s sin. The Israelites went on to conquer Ai. It was that one moment where their faith was shaken that God stepped in to show me a mighty lesson. Never let prayer be an excuse of facing my fear of God’s calling and doing God’s work. Prayer isn’t always the answer. For when your prayer is answered and God has spoken it’s time to get up and go do what He has called you to do.