The Need for God’s People to Seek the Lord’s Direction and Have the Lord’s Presence to Display His Victory
for the Building Up of His Body and the Spreading of His Kingdom– Week 4
6 And Joshua rent his clothes and fell to the ground upon his face before the Ark of Jehovah until the evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust upon their heads.
2 Cor. 2:10
10 But whom you forgive anything, I also forgive; for also what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, it is for your sake in the person of Christ;
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
12c I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy that which was devoted to destruction from among you.
22 And Enoch walked with God after he had begotten Methuselah three hundred years, and he begot more sons and daughters.
5 By faith Enoch was translated so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For before his translation he obtained the testimony that he had been well pleasing to God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to Him, for he who comes forward to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
2 Cor. 4:6-7
6 Because the God who said, Out of darkness light shall shine, is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us.
At Jericho, according to God’s economy, Joshua sent out spies, not for fighting but to gain Rahab. In the destruction of Jericho, no fighting was needed. But at Ai, because they lost the presence of the Lord, Joshua sent out spies for fighting (Josh. 7: 2). The spies returned to Joshua and said that because the enemies were few, not all the people needed go up…. Because of their foolishness, pride, and blindness, they despised their enemy. Nevertheless, Joshua received the report from the spies and sent three thousand men of war against Ai. But when Israel was defeated by the people of Ai and thirty-six men were slaughtered, Joshua realized that something was wrong. He then fell to the ground upon his face before the Ark of Jehovah until evening (vv. 6-9). (Life-study of Joshua, p. 46)
We all need to learn a lesson from this account. We, the people of God, should always be one with our God. Today, especially in the New Testament, our God is not only among us but also within each one of us. Therefore, every one of us is not a solitary individual, a person alone. On the contrary, we are men with God, God-men…. For this reason, we must realize that whatever we do, wherever we go, and whatever we are should not be by ourselves. We should not act, behave, or do things by ourselves but with God.
The report of the spies to Joshua indicates that Israel had set God aside. They forgot God and knew only themselves. At that time they were not one with God but cared only for themselves. Thus, God stayed away from them, and He said to Joshua, “I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy that which was devoted to destruction from among you” (Josh. 7: 12c). It is a very serious matter for God no longer to be with us.
Israel was separated from God because of their sin. This sin caused them to become foolish. Israel should have asked God what He wanted them to do against Ai. This was the secret for their victory. Joshua should have said to the people, “Do not forget what we experienced at Jericho. We did not fight, but instead we walked with God as one. Let us do the same thing at Ai, walking around the city with the Ark.”
The secret of Israel’s defeat at Ai was that they lost God’s presence and were no longer one with Him. After this defeat, Joshua learned the lesson of staying with the Lord before the Ark. Eventually, the Lord came in to speak to him and to tell him what to do. The principle is the same with us today. If we have God’s presence, we have wisdom, insight, foresight, and the inner knowledge concerning things.
As we study the intrinsic significance of this part of Israel’s history, we need to learn the secret of walking with the Lord. Today we should not merely follow the Lord but walk with Him, living with Him and having our being with Him. This is the way to walk as a Christian, to fight as a child of God, and to build up the Body of Christ.
We need to remember that we are God-men and to practice being one with the Lord. Concerning this, the Lord Jesus said, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14: 20). This word reveals that we are a people of “ins”: we are in Christ and He is in us (15: 4). Therefore, whatever we do should not be done by ourselves but should be done with and by another One. (Life-study of Joshua, pp. 46-48)
Further Reading: CWWL, 1958, vol. 2, “The Building Work of God,” ch. 7; CWWN, vol. 7, pp. 1143-1144; CWWL, 1991-1992, vol. 2, “The Christian Life,” ch. 15
Corporate Reading of “The History of God in His Union with Man” Chapter 6 – Sections: God’s Promise to Abraham; Appearing to Him the Third Time; Saving Him from Pharaoh’s Insulting of His Wife; Promising to Give Him and His Seed All the Land That He Saw
© Living Stream Ministry, 2016, used by permission