February 8, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you." Joshua 7:13
So often, when we have been successful at something, we forget how it was achieved. It could have been through hard, studious effort on our part; through determined perseverance; or through a set of circumstances that were very favorable for us. It still behooves us to "remember the pit from which we have been digged." In other words, don't be proud, boastful, and self-congratulatory. Remember where you came from, what you used to be, and how you started out. The people of Israel had this problem! They had just come from a miraculous victory at Jericho. At the command and under the direction and power of God, the walls of Jericho had fallen down, to the consternation of the enemy, which was defeated by the power of God! The Israelites were consumed by their victory and thought they were invincible. Their next foe was Ai, a small, seemingly insignificant village, and they said, "Let not all the men go up, for they of Ai are few." And what was the result? The "few" defeated them! "The hearts of the people melted and became as water." Israel was devastated. The people could not understand how they possibly could have been defeated.
Two things brought about the defeat. First, they underestimated the strength and power of the enemy. We have been there. We think it was "our" ingenuity, "our" cleverness, "our" wisdom, and "our" effort that brought about our progress and enabled us to achieve our measure of success! In reality, it was God who enabled us, who went before us and made the crooked ways straight. It was God who subdued the enemy and wrought the victory. How soon we forget "from whence we came."
Secondly, and the primary reason for Israel's defeat, was that there was "sin in the camp." Someone had disobeyed God. God had specifically told Joshua what they were to do. Notice God's response to their defeat. "Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction" (Joshua 7:11,12). So it will be with us. The Lord will withhold His Hand from us when there is sin in our lives. God lays before us His requisites that are indispensable to His leading and working in our lives.
We must realize that it is only when our hearts and spirits are clean and pure before the Lord that we can expect His hand upon us! We cannot condone sin, compromise our faith, or walk displeasing to the Lord and expect His blessing upon our life. David cried out, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23,24). It is with a contrite heart and a humble spirit that we should walk before God. Only then will the Holy Spirit flow freely and fully through us to the glory of the Father! May our hearts be ever sensitive, submissive, and responsive to His Spirit.
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-02-08
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