Joshua is one of my favorite people in scripture. His leadership after the death of Moses, is an inspiration to everyone who leads, especially those who have followed a long-term leader. Yet, I also find that Joshua had times when he buckled under the weight of defeat. Joshua 7 is one of those times.
Joshua has led the nation of Israel through two major victories in which God came through on their behalf. They were miraculously able to cross the flooded Jordan river and defeat the mighty city of Jericho. Yet when they met defeat at Ai, Joshua was quick to place blame. Where did he place the blame? Not on Israel, but on God himself!
Listen to what he says, “Alas, O Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan!” Joshua 7:7 (ESV)
Isn’t that just like human nature. Whenever things begin to disintegrate in our lives, we begin to look around for someone to take the fall. “It surely isn’t our fault, it has to be God’s!”
Joshua failed to remember what God had done for His people in bringing them out of Egypt.
- Sent Moses to bring them out of Egypt (Ex. 3)
- Opened the Red Sea for them (Ex. 14)
- Fed them with manna when they were hungry (Ex. 16)
- Gave them water from a rock (Ex. 17)
- Led them across the flooded Jordan (Josh. 3)
- Enabled them to conquer Jericho (Josh. 6)
Now after one defeat … Joshua blames God.
The key to living a life of victory is to think about, and be thankful for, all that God has done for us. He loved us so much that He gave His Son for us and through His sacrifice, He offers us salvation by faith and receives us when we come to Him. On top of this incredible gift, He is intricately involved in our lives, consistently loving, caring, protecting, blessing, and disciplining.
Instead of blaming God for our defeats, take time to go to Him and listen to His direction for your life. The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face?” Joshua 7:10 (ESV) He then explained to Joshua the reason behind the defeat and how he was to proceed in his leadership.
Focus on Him and let Him help you overcome the defeats in life. If you take time to remember all that God has done in your life so far, and listen for what He is doing now and in the future of your life, I believe you will find out that there are more victories than you realize. Living a life of humble thankfulness is the key to facing life’s challenges with confidence!