Now we are going to move into the book of Joshua. I found this entry particularity interesting, when I read it on the bible plan.
An author went to visit his friend, and he found her very upset. She had ruined an expensive handkerchief by a blot of indelible ink. She cried out “Nothing can be done about it”. The author took the cloth home that night, and returned it to her a few days after. The blot that was on the handkerchief could not be recognised . The author had made a spectacular design by using the blot itself as the basis for a pattern. The cloth was even more valuable than it was before it got stained.
This story is also illustarated in the book of Joshua. After the great victory the Israelites had at Jericho, they were embarrassingly defeated at Ai. Joshua was very frustrated because of their defeat and questioned God, on why he let such happen to them. Joshua also complained that such a defeat would be a blot on Israel’s reputation and would reflect badly on God as well. This account is in Joshua 7:6-13;
Joshua 7:6-13 NLT
6 Joshua and the elders of Israel tore their clothing in dismay, threw dust on their heads, and bowed face down to the ground before the Ark of the Lord until evening. 7 Then Joshua cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side! 8 Lord, what can I say now that Israel has fled from its enemies? 9 For when the Canaanites and all the other people living in the land hear about it, they will surround us and wipe our name off the face of the earth. And then what will happen to the honor of your great name?”10 But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. 12 That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction.13 “Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.
God pointed out the problem that Israel had to Joshua, and then Achan’s sin was corrected. ( if you are not familiar with this story read chapter 6 &7 of Joshua) The second time the Israelites went against Ai in battle they were victorious. God had taken the blot, being defeated terrible because of Achan’s sin, and made something beautiful from it. Just like the author in the story told earlier. It has been said that when the Israelites where in Jericho they learnt the lesson of faith and at Ai they learned obedience. No one can argue that the lives of the Israelites were enriched by the blot of Ai. In the same way the lives of Israelites were touched by the incident, our lives are sometimes touched with defeat. If at those times we remember to pray and seek the face of God, He will point out all our problems and take the handkerchief of our lives to make a beautiful and valuable masterpiece.
While we are looking at this passage I would like to point out some things I discovered while studying. We are told in verse 6 that Joshua and the elders tore their clothing and put dust upon their heads as signs of deep mourning before God. They were all confused about their defeat of Ai, which was a small city compared to Jericho where they had conquered. Their actions demonstrated that they went before God in deep humility and sorrow in order to receive instructions from Him. When our lives fall apart, we should turn to God for direction and help. Likewise, we should humble ourselves so that we will be able to hear His Word.
Another thing we can learn from this major prayer, is how we pray. Re-read verses 7-9. Imagine if you prayed in that same way to God. It is far from being formal, at that time Joshua was afraid and confused by what happened, so he poured out exactly what was on his mind/chest. It is pointless to hide your needs from God, because that’s like ignoring the only person who can truly help you out. God welcomes our honest prayers and so we should express our true feelings to Him. A believer can become more honest in prayer by remembering that God is all knowing (Psalm 139) and powerful and his love for each of us is everlasting.
Remember when you are defeated seek The Lord in prayer; He will point out all your problems and take the handkerchief of your life and make an unrecognisable masterpiece out of it.
P.S- stay tuned for more posts in this series. Feel free to also send in your prayer requests on the prayer request page