Monday, May 6, 2013

Victory by God, details by me?!

I'm reading through Joshua these days for personal(ie. not for writing a sermon, or writing a lesson, or searching for some good leadership stuff)time in the Word. It's giving me a lot to chew on and the story of Joshua and the Israelites taking the city of Ai in the Promised Land is filled with all kinds of lessons. You'll remember that the first assault on Ai failed in Joshua 7 because Achan disobeyed God and all of Israel paid for it. They got beat in their second battle in the land! But after they figured out why God didn't help them win, they got rid of the sin and went back for a second try! You can't win a battle for God without explicitly obeying God! That's one lesson. But wait, there's more. By God's command, they attack Ai again and as God promised they completely destroy Ai - this is not surprising, but HOW they won surprises and encourages me! They did it with strategy using real live men to accomplish the feat! This is incredibly relevant for those of us who want to obey God and be used of Him for the victories in His kingdom. Let's be clear, God won the battle, but the detail on how they won was extensive. Joshua chose the best fighters (30,000 of them) then he sent them at night to sneak behind Ai. Then the next morning, the rest of the troops took up battle in front of the city. The men of Ai came out to fight and as a decoy (planned in advance) the men of Israel fled. This caused all the fighting men in Ai to chase Israel and leave the city unprotected. Then the 30,000 men behind the city charged in and set the whole place on fire! When the Ai army looked and saw the smoke of their city -they freaked. When the Israelite army saw the smoke, they stopped running and started fighting. Result: Ai is wiped out! God's people win. Question: Why did the Israelites come up with such an extensive plan when God could have just taken out Ai with no army at all? Why the big strategy of ambush, when God could have just caused them to win in a straight up fight? Why would God let Joshua give specific detailed orders for the battle? Here's my conclusion. God is always the reason for the victory, but in His kingdom He uses specific people and their efforts and plans (as long as they are lined up with his will)to win his battles! This means that what we do matters somehow. God can win without us...He just doesn't! This is an astounding reality and blessing. So, I'm with our leadership team planning, praying, dreaming, praying some more,and visiting other churches this week in Dallas. Will God's church at Eastview prevail without our leadership? Absolutely YES! But will God use the stuff He guides us to do to make it happen. Yes. So God will win and some of the strategies we dream will be the details he uses to accomplish it. Don't ask me just is!

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