Man with a Plan
Lord, help me not to blame You for the evil that comes from human disobedience, the devil or a fallen world.
Read Joshua 8: 1-17
 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land.  You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”  So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night  with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert.  I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them.  They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are running away from us as they did before.’ So when we flee from them,  you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The LORD your God will give it into your hand.  When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the LORD has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.”  Then Joshua sent them off, and they went to the place of ambush and lay in wait between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai-but Joshua spent that night with the people.  Early the next morning Joshua mustered his army, and he and the leaders of Israel marched before them to Ai.  The entire force that was with him marched up and approached the city and arrived in front of it. They set up camp north of Ai, with the valley between them and the city.  Joshua had taken about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city.  So the soldiers took up their positions-with the main camp to the north of the city and the ambush to the west of it. That night Joshua went into the valley.  When the king of Ai saw this, he and all the men of the city hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle at a certain place overlooking the Arabah. But he did not know that an ambush had been set against him behind the city.  Joshua and all Israel let themselves be driven back before them, and they fled toward the wilderness.  All the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away from the city.  Not a man remained in Ai or Bethel who did not go after Israel. They left the city open and went in pursuit of Israel. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat reasons do you have to praise God?
Would you have been as courageous as Joshua and the army in response to God’s command to attack (1,2) following the previous failure? It isn’t clear whether or not this strategy for attack came from God directly or Joshua’s own initiative. Either way, the key difference was that Joshua and the army were listening to God compared to chapter 7’s gung-ho self-belief.We see in this passage the importance of planning and strategy allied with faith. Joshua first chose the best of the army for a key role (3,4). The plan was shrewd and well thought through (4–7), with the added element of insight into the enemy’s mindset. Movement under cover of darkness completed the effective strategy (3,9).Where do you stand in regard to planning? Do you tend to lean towards an approach that leaves things to the last minute, hoping that they will turn out OK? Or do you plan everything to death, seeking to exert control over every last detail? God himself is a planner and as we are made in his image it follows that plans are a good thing, providing they are not a substitute for listening to him.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3).
My sweet Jesus, I am seeking You with all my heart and I long to know You more and more.
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