Words of Faith 9-9-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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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.
There had been great momentum in the miraculous crossing of the Jordan and the supernatural victory over Jericho. But all this came to a grinding halt with the defeat at Ai. Gloom and despair must have permeated all those in the camp and the heart of Joshua.
With Achan's crime judged, God's favor toward Israel was restored. He reassured Joshua that He had not forsaken him or the people. When Joshua heard God's words of encouragement, his heart surely encouraged. At this crucial time, it was good to be reminded and reassured that God was ready to lead if Joshua were ready to listen to His plan, which he was.
God's plan involved using all the fighting men of Israel. The primary cause of the defeat at Ai was Achan's sin. Still, a secondary cause was arrogance in underrating the enemy. God's plan would rectify that error. God said for Joshua to go up and attack Ai, and He promised to turn the place of defeat into a place of victory.
Before the actual plan of battle was revealed to Joshua, he was told that the captured goods of Ai and also its livestock could be taken by Israel. God had banned this in Jericho, but Ai was to be different. It was ironic that if only Achan had suppressed his greed and selfish desires and obeyed God's word at Jericho, he would later have had material goods and God's blessing. The path of obedience and faith is always rewarding.
The big message here is about starting over after defeat. The reality of our human frailty tells us that there will be times of defeat. There will be times in which we choose the path of temptation or fail to trust God. There will be times when this brings disaster upon us. What do we do? How do we get past the place of defeat? Joshua shows us the answer.
First, we must listen to God's encouragement. It is often said that He is the God of the second chance. Perhaps it is even better to say that He is the God of starting again. It is not just about a second chance because most of us will need many more than just two! The message from God? Do not be afraid or discouraged.
Do not be afraid to listen again. Do not be afraid to trust again. Do not be afraid to try again. Do not be discouraged. Do not let the failure of another person block you from doing what God is calling you to.
Second, we must listen to His plan. God had a new plan for the attack on Ai. It was completely different from the first attack and utterly different from the victory at Jericho. This new plan involved setting an ambush. Did God need to set an ambush? Surely not. But that was His choice nonetheless. The key is to listen to God's plan and do it.
Moving ahead after defeat is part inspiration and part perspiration. It is partly hearing the encouragement and partly doing the orders. It is partly by the mind, partly by might, and entirely by God.
Have you suffered a defeat? A setback? A personal failure? A spiritual backslide? A resulting disaster? This is a key time to grow. This is the time to listen to God. Learn what can be learned. Hear His encouragement. Listen to His plan. Move ahead.
Father God, I give thanks that You don't give up on Your children. Thank You for encouraging me in my times of failure and defeat. I am listening. Lift up my heart. I am waiting. Tell me what the plan is. I am ready to walk into Your victory. In Jesus' name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2005, 2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.