Yesterday we started our call to live fearlessly. This faith is not something you muster on your own. That word muster is usually associated with mustering the troops. It is a formal gathering of the troops. Joshua 8:10 “Early the next morning Joshua mustered his army, and he and the leaders of Israel marched before them to Ai.” This example shows us that we must obey God and when we do, no one will stand against us and everywhere we set our foot will be ours. That was the promise given to Joshua. I also shows what happens when you do not live by faith and disobey God.
If we backup a little, Israel had crossed the Jordon. Joshua 5:1 “Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.” Now the great city of Jericho stood in their way, but they had nothing to fear. Joshua 6:2 “Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.” They then destroyed Jericho as commanded. “20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. 24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.” We still read about her faith and her lineage. Matthew 1:5 “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab.” Hebrews 11:31 “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.”
When attacking Jericho, they were told Joshua 6:17 “The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them.” In faith, they believed God when He said Joshua 6:2 “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.” They had already been promised the land but had to wait the first time because they disobeyed and did not believe God would do as He said. Because they disobeyed Numbers 14:29 “In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.” Now here they were doing everything God had commanded and after the miraculous heaping of the Jordon’s water and crossing on dry land, the walls of Jericho came crashing down. Their obedience by faith was amazing or was it.
God had said the city was to be devoted to Him. So that’s what they did, except for a few. Let’s go back to the first verse where Joshua mustered his army to attack Ai again. They attacked Ai once already and were defeated but how was that possible when they were in the promised land. They were told no one would defeat them. The answer is simple; disobedience always brings defeat. After Jericho, Ai was next. In confidence they took a look and said they only needed a few men to defeat Ai. Joshua 7:4 “So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.” This was not supposed to happen. “6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? The God answered Joshua. 10 “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 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. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. 13 There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.” Achan had taken the devoted things. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.”
Today the church thinks they can do whatever they want and then say they are faithful to God but as we just saw, God will not bless those who go their own way. The first time attacking Ai, they went in their own strength because they had taken the devoted things. Most even Joshua did not know Achan had taken devoted things. Instead of devoting them to God he said Joshua 7:20 “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” They had destroyed Jericho with supernatural power just like when they crossed the Jordon, so Ai would be no problem. The church has not been able to defeat their enemies because they have gone to war in their own power. Faith in oneself is not the same as faith in God. Obedience to God brings fearless faith. Yes, there are many with incredible faith in what they do, but faith in yourself will not defeat your spiritual enemies, it will only empower them. As God said, “the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” Disobedience always will lead to destruction and not just here on earth but for eternity. The church has not been able to stand against our enemies because God has turned His face from us.
After Joshua dealt with Achan and his family, they obeyed God and attacked Ai and did just as they were commanded to do but this time God allowed them to keep the plunder. Joshua 8:8 “Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.” 10 Early the next morning Joshua mustered his army, and he and the leaders of Israel marched before them to Ai.” In order to defeat our enemies and live by fearless faith, we must obey God. We cannot go our own way and expect God to bless us. Going our only way will only bring His wrath. The church needs to muster its army, obey God and do as He has called us to do. Malachi 1:14 “I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” If you want to be a servant of the king, you must obey and live with fearless faith.