Stand Before God
12 Apr 2013 Mens Meeting – Tan Ye Peng
2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” 4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. 5 And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water. Josh 7:2-5
This was after their tremendous victory in Jericho. Spies reported that they only need to send two thousand or so men.
Joshua sent spies, he reacted correctly to the report and conservatively even sent three thousand men instead of two thousand. Joshua thought he did everything that was right but he still experienced failure.
But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel. Joshua 7:1
Committed a trespass – Acted unfaithfully
The reason why they lost is that they have acted unfaithfully; they broke their faith and covenant with God.
What did Joshua then do?
6 Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?” Joshua 7:6-9
He tore his clothes and laid on the floor. He began to ask God why, what shall I say, and what will you do for us?
10 So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face?
Compare v7 and v10:
He asked God why is this happening? But God asked him why is he lying down. God says get up, why are u lying down!
Very often what we think is the problem, isn’t what God thinks is the problem. What you think is the solution is not what God thinks is the solution.
11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.
God wanted Joshua to do this:
13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”
You cannot stand against your enemies until you can stand before God.
Going back a few chapters..
5 So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel. Joshua 5:1
Introduction of the Commander of the army of the Lord
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”
15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. 5:13-15
Joshua himself was a commander, why need do you need two commanders?
In a battle, you need to know two things:
#1 Do you know who is your enemy?
#2 Do you know who you are?
Joshua 5:1-12 – The people of Israel have not been ‘introduced’ to God and do not know who they are
If you are not clear that you are the people of God, you won’t know why you are fighting this battle.
God is not concerned whether you win or lose the battle, but whether you understand why you are in the battle, and know who you are.
Those who were born in the wilderness have not been circumcised, they are not aware they are a covenant people!
2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.” 3 So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. 4 And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt. 5 For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised. Joshua 5:2-5
The problem to the people of Israel is the enemy at Ai, not about them being uncircumcised. But God is saying No, do you think it is not easy for me to deliver you? God wants you to know who you are, and what and why you are fighting for.
They walked 40 yrs because they did not obey the voice of God
6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord—to whom the Lord swore that He would not show them the land which the Lord had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”
God can raise up people to replace. Don’t come to a stage where you think you are indispensable.
7 Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people, that they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed.
At this stage, they are recovering from their circumcision, and were in enemy territory. They were vulnerable and scared of being attacked by the enemy.
But the children of Israel did not know that the enemy was even more afraid!
…that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel. Joshua 5:1
But not because of anything they did, but God. And God did not allow the enemy to ambush the children of Israel, because he wanted them to be circumcised!
15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so – this land is holy because the people who are going to claim this land is holy.
Back to the situation at Joshua’s camp…
13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.” Joshua 7:13
It wasn’t Joshua sanctifying them, but them sanctifying themselves. “Until YOU take away..”
Give glory to God,and make confession to him
19 Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
When you meet a crisis, or need a breakthrough, come and stand before God!!!
What happened in the end..
25 And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. 26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day. Joshua 7:25-26
8 Now the Lord said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. Joshua 8:1
Failure not fatal, failure is not final. But before we pick ourselves up, we must ask ourselves what must we change? How can we present ourselves before God?
Sanctify yourselves, live righteously, so we can stand before God, and God will always deliver us.