Encouraged and Renewed
Loving Father, stir my heart to obedience today, and let me sing Your praise as I come to You now.
Read Joshua 8:1-17
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Drop thy still dews of quietness, / Till all our strivings cease; / Take from our souls the strain and stress, / And let our ordered lives confess / The beauty of thy peace” (John Whittier, 1807-92).
Israel’s covenant relationship with God has been repaired and now its calling to possess the land can continue. This time, however, the ban on keeping the booty is lifted. If this seems unfair to Achan, the answer is that our calling is to obey God in each situation and not make comparisons. The root cause of Israel’s failure has been removed. The people must have been asking, “Who can stand in the presence of God’s judgment?” Now the Father heart of God knew his people needed encouragement. Sensitivity and flexibility, as well as consistency, are part of the art of good fathering.
Joshua’s hard disciplinary action would have taken its toll on him. Now he needed loving care before he could continue his leadership role. The challenge not to be afraid or discouraged (1) comes in nine other places in the Scriptures and it needed to be heard by the leaders before they could speak it to their people (Deut. 1:21; 31:8; Josh. 1:9; 10:25; 1 Chron. 22:13; 28:20; 2 Chron. 20:15, 17; 32:7). We need to take heed to this repetition in our own lives and in any leadership role we have. The Royal Navy has a frequently quoted regulation which says, “No officer shall speak discouragingly to another officer in the discharge of his duties.” The Bible goes beyond this negative prohibition and gives us a positive command, but we can only give encouragement in difficult circumstances if we are first recipients of that gift from God.
God now gives Joshua clear instructions on how to capture Ai. It would be no pushover and would require the involvement of the whole army, but with God’s guidance victory would be assured.
Who has given you encouragement? Thank them. Who can you encourage? Do it. Don’t delay in this God-given ministry.
Lord, I pray for those who see this day before them and are discouraged. Lead them to Your unfailing strength.
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