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Joshua 7: 1 – 10
Just in case you were wondering, everyone in life will taste defeat. The distance between a great victory and a terrible defeat is one step, and often only a short one at that. A fact of reality is that in a fallen world we can be riding high on the cloud of some great spiritual success, and the very next moments find ourselves in the valley of spiritual failure and despair.
After such a tremendous victory at Jericho, Joshua chapter 7 is surprising to say the least. Suddenly we are presented with a series of failures that stand in striking contrast to the wonderful victories of the past six chapters. How instructive this is if we only have the ears to listen to the message of this chapter. The thrill of victory was so quickly replaced by the agony of defeat. This is the story of life, and something we each must learn to deal with in our daily walk. One minute we can be living in victory and next in defeat.
Let’s look at a few ways to handle defeat:
1. Don’t forget God’s blessings in the past
Joshua 6: the victory at Jericho – Joshua must remember the past victories that God has given him and the people. We must also do the same, take time right now and think about the past victories that God has given you.
2. Don’t question God’s plan (v. 7a)Whenever we are occupied with a problem, or whenever we fail to focus our minds and eyes on the Lord, we become insensitive to the Person, plan, promises, and purposes of God. At this point, it seems it never entered Joshua’s mind that God may have had a reason for allowing the defeat, or that they (Joshua and Israel) might in some way be the cause. When our focus is wrong we either forget God’s promises or question them. We then quit relating to God’s Person in all His divine essence. In such a condition we no longer see the Lord as our hope, rather He becomes the
3. Don’t settle for less than the best (v. 7b)In order to be comfortable we are willing to settle for a life of mediocrity rather than learn what the hindrances are so we can move ahead in the pursuit of excellence.
4. Don’t turn back/Don’t focus on the defeat (v. 8)
In the text there is the assumption here that, since they had been defeated, they could not go forward and that it would have been better not to have encountered the enemy. Their failure had somehow weakened God’s ability to give them future victories. This is a typical assumption, but one that is wrong. God is never limited by our defeats.
5. Don’t worry about what others think (v. 9)
People may laugh at you and talk about you after a defeat, but do not worry about people. You must continue
6. Don’t stay down (v. 10)
The KJV has “get thee up,” the NIV has “stand up,” and the NASB has “rise up.” The verb here is the Hebrew qum which often means to rise up from a prostrate position for various reasons and from various conditions. Several of these ideas are applicable here. This command calls for Joshua to rise up from his state of despair and futility to prepare himself for action, to listen to the Lord, to take up his responsibility, and lead the people in God’s deliverance
You can make it back from defeat!
Pastor Corey J. Neal