Recovery From Spiritual Failure
And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; there the hearts of the people melted and became like water. Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. (Joshua 7: 5-6)
We all have had times in our lives when prayer came easier, worship was a delight and serving the Lord was a joy. We felt that we were on a spiritual mountaintop and all we could see before us was a life of victory. Then, all of a sudden, victory is gone and we find ourselves upon our faces in failure. It happens; and it happens even to the best people of God. Joshua had just experienced a supernatural victory in chapter six when he saw the walls of Jericho fall down and victory was his. He saw God give victory where it seemed there could be no victory.
Now, in chapter seven, just a few days later, he is on his face in humiliation and failure.
The cause of their failure is seen in verses three and four. Joshua and his leaders had become self-centered and self-confident. They needed God for the big battle of Jericho, but they felt they did not need Him for the smaller battle of Ai. This arrogant attitude brought about a shameful defeat.
There is never a time in our lives when we do not need God. We may acknowledge our need for Him when we face life’s bigger challenges, but we actually need Him in every aspect of life every day.
Joshua recognized his mistake and took the correct actions to recover his relationship with God. The steps he took are seen in verses 13-21. First, Joshua consecrated himself and the people to God (v. 13). He separated himself from the sin that caused the failure. Second, he complied with the Lord. In other words, he did exactly what God told him to do (v. 16) . Third, Joshua demanded that full confession was made of the sin that had caused the failure (vs. 20-21). There you have the way back: consecration, compliance and confession.
Joshua recovered from his failure and went on to be a mighty spiritual leader of the people of Israel. Do not let a spiritual failure keep you down. Confess your sin to God and accept His forgiveness. Then get up and go forward in victory… to the glory of God. Dr. Roger D. Willmore contributed to our daily devotional, Real Victory for Real Life Volumes 1 & 2 and spoke this summer at America’s Keswick.
Keswick, America’s (2012-12-13). Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 8127-8152). . Kindle Edition.
Think About This: Apart from God every activity is merely a passing whiff of insignificance. Alfred North Whitehead
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT