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Yea in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:38

 

Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.  1 John 4:4

In Part I we noted that God calls us to victorious living. We examined the first necessity of victory in Christ which was dealing with the pride that easily creeps in and destroys the fruits of victory as it did to Israel at Jericho leading to their defeat at Ai. Let us now think of two other key elements.

The Priority of Prayer

We must be committed to the priority of prayer. In Joshua 7:6, we read “Then” Joshua prayed. When did he pray? After the battle. We do that all the time. “I can’t take it anymore. I don’t know what to do with this person/ situation. God I put it into your hands.” Praying after the battle is lost.

There is a problem of prayerlessness in our midst. This was the problem that the Children of Israel faced. Joshua was a doer—not one of those guys that goes to prayer meetings. And so, he, like many of us, blew it time and time again. In Chapter 9, after the “victory” at Ai, some fellows from Gibeon came and deceived the Children of Israel into making an agreement not to kill them. “So the men of Israel took some of their provisions and did not ask for the counsel of the LORD.” (9:14)

They never got into the practice of prayer. They never made prayer a priority. We need to pray before the battle to enjoy the victory of our God in our circumstances. That is where the real victory is. We need to pray now, before the battle begins.

Joshua raised three questions in his prayer: “Alas, Oh Lord God, why did you ever bring these people over the Jordan, only to deliver us [into the hands of our enemies]?” (v. 7) In our language, we might say, “God, do you know what you’re doing? Maybe it’s the right place, but God, it’s the wrong timing. I can tell. I’m a leader, I know these things.” In other words, we should have stayed behind. Why bother living for the Lord? Why should we go into a situation where there is a possibility of defeat and humiliation? And so, some stay in that land on the “other side of the Jordan”—the other side of the Promised Land—and we do not enter into relationships, because we are afraid of rejection, being tossed aside and thus, defeated.

“Oh Lord, what can I say, since Israel has turned their backs before their enemies?” (v. 8) I have to have an answer. I’m the person in charge. God, we’re unprotected. People are going to hear about these things and surround us and cut us off. We have nowhere to go.

“And what will you do for your great name?” (v. 9) What about His testimony? Truly, God does not need our victories to have a testimony. It already exists and is unshakeable. He wants us to enter the Land, to press on. God will get the honor, not through the successes as the world could even understand it, but through the sanctity of the saints. We must be consecrated to the practice of purity.

Commitment to Purity

Purity is not something that we like to talk about. It is not something that gets the respect of the world. Maybe we do not get so much ego fulfillment when we tell the “guys” that we are faithful husbands.

The Israelites sought victory. God sought purity. While they were not pure, they were not going to be victorious. It was time for them to get rid of sin. Israel had sinned (v. 11) and had taken something forbidden. “But, God, it was only one person out of the entire nation. Just a little thing.” True, but that little leaven leavened the entire lump. (See 1 Cor. 5:6) God’s response was “I will not be with you any more unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst.” (v. 12) The intimacy of our fellowship with God brings the victory. His victory is found in purity.

God’s cure for all of Israel’s difficulties (vv. 13-15) was for them to rise up and consecrate themselves before the Lord. God brought an entire nation to account for the sin of one man. God was not unjust. Every time He does a new work, God sets the standards high and enforces His Word.

Can we learn the lessons of Ai and Achan? Indeed, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. May it be so in our lives.

Marvin

– This article comes from AI’s “No Higher Calling,” a devotional for lawyers.

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