Monday, April 30, 2012

Cleaning Up The Messy Things

Dear Friends,

In Joshua Chapter 6, when Joshua and his armed men marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days and the walls fell, God told them that when they plundered the city not to take any of the “devoted things.”  The silver, gold, articles of bronze, and iron were to be kept for the Lord’s treasury.
But Achan stole some of the devoted things and buried them under his tent.  Not a smart move. This didn’t make God happy.

So, in the next scene, when a small group of Joshua’s men should have defeated an even smaller group of men in Ai, instead about 36 of them were chased out of the city gate at Ai and struck down on some nearby slopes.

When Joshua, defeated and discouraged, went to the Lord and asked Him what happened, the Lord told him that the Israelites had kept some of the devoted things—and that’s why they were defeated.  Then, He said something profound to His servant Joshua, “You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it” (meaning the devoted things).

My point is this: Sometimes the only way to move forward in success is to go back to a mess that was made and clean it up.  Sometimes, we try to keep pressing on because we think, “I don’t have the time; I don’t have the resources.  I can’t afford to spend six months or a year fixing that. I have to press on.”
If we do this God’s discipline may get our attention, like it did for Joshua and the Israelites.  His discipline may come in the form of failure, extreme discomfort, or that still, small admonishing voice of the Holy Spirit.

Discipline is sometimes God’s way of saying, “Stop!  You can’t keep pressing forward and think that you don’t have to deal with what happened back there.”

Sometimes the only way to move forward and go on in success is to go back and clean up the mess.
As a closing encouragement remember this: there are times after God’s discipline (that has come perhaps in the form of failure) that we want to give up.  But we have to remember that one failure (or two or three) doesn’t a life make.  If God is calling us to straighten out a mess, it doesn’t mean we’ll always live in defeat.

After Joshua and the Israelites straightened out the “I-have-stolen-devoted-things” problem, they finally went on to defeat their enemies in Ai.


Shana Schutte
Beyond Imagination 

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes the messy includes busy. We crowd out opportunities God offers, when we're too consumed with other things!