Good morning everyone,
Well, I must love my students. Here I am rushing to get out the door to go to Gatineau yet I take a few moments to discuss this morning's reading with you. :-) Can't you feel the love? Or is it that I am compelled to do it. In either case it will probably be short.
So, Joshua, son of Nun, followed the Lord's instructions to the letter and he defeated the great city of Jericho. Jericho was not just any city, it was one of the original cities in the world, according to the people who know such things in the world today. Joshua did not win it by superior numbers or great battle tactics. He won it because he followed the directions of the Lord. But then sin entered the community as sin tends to do. Achan liked the shiny stuff. This is where Joshua made his first mistake.
Joshua figured he now knew what he had to do, as many of us think. We have our instructions so we head out to complete our mission. But things change. Even the spiritual world is not static. There are adjustments that are made, especially because of the introduction of sin into the situation. Joshua should have been praying. Joshua should have checked with God on the next battle. They did not lose because they only had half the troops. They lost because it was a spiritual warfare and they had just lost their strength. If Joshua had been praying he would have known that fact.
Like everyone else Joshua tried to place this failure at the "feet" of God. But God was having none of this. Joshua seemed to have been a matter-of-fact guy and God dealt with him in a matter-of-fact manner:
"Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction."
"They have been made liable to destruction." So the great spiritual condition the people were in for the Jericho battle did not exist for the next battle. They could have entered the fight with 100,000 warriors and they would have still lost. We keep forgetting that this work is not a physical work with prayers thrown in. It is a spiritual work with some physical stuff thrown in.
The point is that we cannot tune in to God once a month or once a year or once in a life-time. We need to be constantly tuned in, every day so we can stay on top of our situation and the situation of our context. When we remain sensitive to the Spirit he shows us things, he makes us aware so we can adjust. This is important. Pay attention spiritually and the enemy will never put you to flight.