Our only hope is to ASK
I know I should have asked…but I didn’t. One of the first trips I led with the FHC youth group back in 1990 had me lost around the vicinity of Baden Lake. David Chadwick had gotten us connected with Governor Robin Hayes and we were to stay at his lake house. I had the whole youth group with me and I couldn’t find the road I was supposed to turn on. However, I refused to stop at a gas station to ask for directions because I knew I could figure it out myself.
In Joshua 9:14, the people of Israel have a similar kind of problem, “The men of Israel sample their provisions, but did not inquire of the Lord.” The account of the Gibeonite deception (this is a tribe living closely to Joshua) has a slightly amusing element, as well as a serious point. The Israelites are poking around in moldy bread and trying to figure out the distance these strangers must have traveled. Yet, the sad fact is, they were tricked.
We all get tricked at one time or another and being tricked is not necessarily a moral problem. However, what follows often is a moral problem. The Israelites probably didn’t ask God because they were overconfident and felt like they could figure it out themselves.
How often have we thought we could make the decision to buy a house, propose marriage, secure a job or hire someone without seeking God in the process? It is a dangerous thing to assume we have all we need in our arsenal to know the right path to choose. This story calls out loudly, to take time from our hectic schedules to pray before arriving at a decision.
Finally, look at James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” Too bad the Israelites didn’t read that verse.
Tips for Reading- (Application tip # 6)
Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It has been building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over past weeks to get the whole picture.
Let me move away from our series of applications this week and attempt to read these stories before us like we are in the thick of a plot.
A famous church father, St. Augustine, once said, “When Jesus loved the leper, he made me beautiful.” In other words, as we see Jesus interact with folks, we should see a similar heart that He has toward us. Where do you see yourself and your neighbors? For example, look at one of the stories this week in Joshua 9. Where have you missed an opportunity to ask God for guidance and have been misled? In a relationship? In a big decision? Let’s try to read the seven chapters this week through the eyes of our own story and journal it each day. It could become a good habit.
Notes from David’s Journal
Joshua 8 is a lesson for all of us. The Israelites defeated and captured the city of Ai, which was strongly fortified. Obviously, God was with them in the victory.
However, one person took spoil he wasn’t supposed to take. He was tempted by money and gave in. The Lord revealed this sin to Joshua. Joshua demanded the person confess and come forward. When he finally did, after some coercion, God brought immediate and swift judgment upon him.
Why? Because almost obedience is disobedience. When the Lord asks us to follow Him, it’s not a casual commitment. We don’t give Him some of our lives and not all. We don’t hold on to some “booty,” some possessions we desire more than Him. We must surrender ALL to Him. A soldier cannot fight a casual fight. An athlete cannot play casually in a game and then expect to win. God wants all of us or He cannot not fully use us.
Casual obedience is disobedience. It’s a lesson for all of us from Ai. We need never forget it.