Scripture Joshua 7: 1-12
1. Then the People of Israel violated the holy curse. Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah, took some of the cursed things. God became angry with the People of Israel 2. Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai (The Ruin), which is near Beth Aven just east of Bethel. He instructed them, “Go up and spy out the land.” The men went up and spied out Ai. 3. They returned to Joshua and reported, “Don’t bother sending a lot of people—two or three thousand men are enough to defeat Ai. Don’t wear out the whole army; there aren’t that many people there.” 4-5. So three thousand men went up—and then fled in defeat before the men of Ai! The men of Ai killed thirty-six—chased them from the city gate as far as The Quarries, killing them at the descent. The heart of the people sank, all spirit knocked out of them. 6. Joshua ripped his clothes and fell on his face to the ground before the Chest of God, he and the leaders throwing dirt on their heads, prostrate until evening.
This past Saturday, Lydia P. Ford Ministries held its 6th Annual BFF Valentines Celebration. It is an event that I have been putting on for six consecutive years. The miracle of this annual celebration is that, this event has continued to go forward throughout a time and season where I face my most difficult challenges. the loss of my daughter and husband could have derailed and put a halt to my interest and determination to continue putting on this event year after year. But by the "Grace" of God and the support of a few faithful women, the event has gone on without a hitch for six years.
Last Saturday, February 22, was indeed the best BFF we have ever had. It wasn't about the numbers because we had fewer people this year than in the past two years. We did however host 87 or slightly more than that on Saturday. The women that were asked to participate in this years BFF were: Elder Uneeder Ruth, Dr. Angela Massey, Sister Jolie Rocke Brown, and Minister Persephone Hall. Our theme was: "Not without a Struggle." These women were all anointed to do exactly what they did on Saturday. They were a blessing to the women of God!! Many women expressed their pleasure and delight at being privileged to be apart of this year's BFF. We received personal testimonies and accolades on the social networks that I truly delighted in reading. And I am forever grateful to these women using their God given gifts to share with me and others this year.
Having said all of that, It is important to keep a clear head an open perspective concerning future BFF Programs. I cannot rest my laurels on this successful event and expect next years to automatically top this one! Success with this year's BFF does not guarantee that 2015's BFF will be equal or surpass this year's experience.
So what do you do when you experience the "Thrill of Victory" in you life, ministry, business, or personal relationships, followed by, "The Agony of Defeat" in another area of your life? I am glad you asked! Never should one rest, take their ease, sit back, relax and take for granted that God will do for you what He did for you yesterday. I think we can learn a lot from Joshua chapter 7. For in that story Joshuah and the nation of Israel, was taught an important lesson. And if we harken to it, there is indeed a lesson in the text for us too. Check out a portion of this text below.
After such a tremendous victory at Jericho, what happens in Joshua chapter 7 is surprising to say the least! Suddenly we are presented with a series of failures that stand in striking contrast to the wonderful victories of the past six chapters. How instructive this is if we only have the ears to listen to the message of this chapter. The thrill of victory was so quickly replaced by the agony of defeat. This is the story of life, and something we each must learn to deal with in our daily walk. One minute we can be living in victory and next in defeat.
The distance between a great victory and a terrible defeat is one step, and often only a short one at that. We can see the evidence of that in this year's Olympic Games! How often have you seen various contenders going up against their competitor from another country miss out on winning the gold, silver, or bronze medal by a tenth of a second. One misstep, one bump against a frozen wall in the bobsled race; One missed triple twist that turns into a double during the ice skating competition; one unexpected fall or missed gate during one of the ski events. The fact of reality is: that in a fallen world, we can be riding high on the cloud of some great spiritual success, and in the very next moment find ourselves in the valley of spiritual failure and despair. One moment we can be like Elijah standing victoriously on Mt. Carmel, and the next hiding out in a cave, fearing for his life, and complaining to God (1 Kings 19:10).
Ai was the next objective in the path of conquest because of its strategic location. As with Jericho, its conquest was vital to the conquest of the entire land. It was smaller than Jericho, but its conquest was essential because this would give Israel control of the main route that ran along the ridge from north to south along the highlands of the central portion of the land.
Jericho had been placed under the ban, a phrase which comes from the Hebrew word, herem, “a devoted thing, a ban.” The verb form, haram, means “to ban, devote, or destroy utterly.” Basically, this word refers to the exclusion of an object from use or abuse by man along with its irreversible surrender to God. It is related to an Arabic root meaning “to prohibit, especially to ordinary use.” The “harem,” meaning the special quarters for Muslim wives, comes from this word. So, to surrender something to God meant devoting it to the service of God or putting it under a ban for utter destruction.1
For something to be under the ban meant one of two things.
(1) Everything living was to be completely destroyed. This has been called barbaric and primitive—nothing less than the murder of innocent lives, but the Canaanites were by no means innocent. They were a vile people who practiced the basest forms of immorality including child sacrifice. God had given them over four hundreds of years to repent, but now their iniquity had become full (see Gen. 15:16; Lev. 18:24-28). The one family who did turn to the Lord (Rahab and her family) were spared. As with Sodom and Gomorrah, if there had been even ten righteous, God would have spared the city (Gen. 18), but since he could not find even ten, He removed Lot and his family (Gen. 19). Further, if any city had repented as did Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah, He would have spared that city, but in spite of all the miraculous works of God which they had heard of, there was no repentance, they remained steadfast in their depravity.
… The battle confronting Israel was not simply a religious war; it was a theocratic war. Israel was directly ruled by God and the extermination was God’s direct command (cf. Exod. 23:27-30; Deut. 7:3-6; Josh. 8:24-26). No other nation either before or after Israel has been a theocracy. Thus, those commands were unique. Israel as a theocracy was an instrument of judgment in the hands of God.2
(2) All the valuable objects like gold and silver were to be dedicated to the Lord’s treasury. This was evidently to be done as a kind of first fruits of the land and an evidence of the people’s trust in the Lord’s supply for the future (cf. Lev. 27:28-29). Chapter 7 opens with a small but ominous word, the word “but,” which contrasts this chapter with the preceding one, particularly verse 27. First, there was the thrill of victory, but now the agony of defeat. This little conjunction of contrast is designed to drive home an important truth, the reality of the ever present threat and contrasts of life—victory is always followed by the threat of defeat.
Never is the believer in greater danger of a fall than after a victory. We are so prone to drop our guard and begin to trust in ourselves or in our past victories rather than the Lord. One victory never ensures the next. Only as it builds our confidence in the Lord and develops our wisdom in appropriating God’s Word do our victories aid us for the next battle, but the basis of victory is always the Lord Himself and our faith/dependence Him. A New Testament chapter that deserves consideration here is 1 Corinthians 10 and especially verse 12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” The problem is clearly stated in the words, “The sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard …” Let’s note several things about this problem facing the Israelites as a nation.
(1) The word “unfaithfully” represents a Hebrew word that means “to act underhandedly.” It was used of marital infidelity, of a woman who was unfaithful to her husband. The sin here was both an act of spiritual infidelity, being a friend of the world rather than a friend to the Lord (Jam. 4:4), and a faithless act, seeking happiness and security from things rather than from God (1 Tim. 6:6f).
(2) The Lord held the whole camp of Israel accountable for the act of one man and He withheld His blessing until the matter was dealt with. There was sin in the camp and God would not continue the blessing of the nation as long as this was so. This does not mean that the rest of the nation was sinless or that this was the only sin, but this sin was of such a nature (a sin of direct disobedience and rebellion) that God used it to teach Israel (and us) a couple of important lessons.
And in my next blog, I will tell you what lessons the of Israel learned and how we can apply them to our lives.
Enjoy your day and: "Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers."