Updated: Jun 14, 2021
Verses: Joshua 7:10-12
My dad always said that when making a decision or in the midst of a problem, “the hard thing is generally the right thing to do.” My life experience has born this out more times than I can count.
A few months ago I witnessed an injustice in my direct circle of life. I prayed and stewed and prayed and stewed. I knew what I had to do. But it was so hard. I do not like confrontation at all. And in most cases once I pray about a situation I find God is changing me, not calling me to change others. However, I knew I could not let the injustice stand. So I prayed, took several deep breaths, and made the phone call. The person did not respond well. (I’m sure you could have predicted that.) I tried to explain the concern I had, but the person was too angry about being confronted to really hear my message at that time. I knew, however, that the hard thing was the right thing to do at that time. I’m prayerful that the person will ponder my words over time and maybe make a change. Either way, though, I did what I knew I had to do. Even though I didn’t want to.
In the couple of days in between witnessing the injustice and calling it out, I prayed a lot. I knew what to do, so I’m not sure what I expected of God. His answer was the same as it always is - injustice isn’t right. We are all made in His image. Why did I spend the days praying when I knew the right thing to do? Honestly, I did that because I didn’t WANT to do what needed to be done.
A similar thing happened to Joshua in the Old Testament. Moses recently died and Joshua was in charge. God led them to victory over Jericho in a most unique way (Joshua 6 if you want to read about it). It was time to turn their attention to Ai. God told them to attack and destroy everything - leave nothing alive and take no treasure. Joshua sent a team right from Jericho to Ai. They knew God told them they would win, so they were confident it would end in their favor. But then it didn’t. They lost. The remaining army dragged themselves home to report the loss.
Joshua tore his clothes and fell in his face in grief. He called out to God asking why He brought them to this place of loss and devastation. He mourned the loss and was overwhelmed by discouragement.
God’s response is my favorite.
He tells Joshua, “Get up off your face!” He then explains to Joshua that He upheld his end of the bargain. One of the Israelites sinned and caused this devastation.
There are a couple of things going on here. I’m going to focus on one of them for today.
Joshua had been Moses’s right hand man. He watched Moses lead the grumbling group of guys and gals for decades. He heard them complain and blame God every time something didn’t go their way. So I find it funny that was HIS first response here.
I would argue, though, that Joshua knew in his heart that it wasn’t GOD’S fault the whole thing went wrong. He knew what he had to do. He needed to confront his army and find out what went wrong. He needed to confront the issue.
He finally got up, dusted himself off, and went clan by clan to find the perpetrator. Turns out someone stole treasure and hid it in his tent. They took care of the situation and went on to successfully take over the town of Ai.
So often, we know what we need to do. And, as my dad always says, it’s often the hardest of the options. Yet we do want Joshua did. We pray and stew and pray and stew. We ask for direction and we wail, “Why, God?” while bemoaning our predicament.
It’s time like this that I hear God whisper, “Andrea, get up off your face and do what needs to be done!” So while it’s difficult to do what needs to be done sometimes, I love knowing I’m in good company with Bible greats like Joshua.
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There are some great Bible studies about Joshua.
Here's one for women: https://amzn.to/3qHojTQ
Here's a general one for both men and women: https://amzn.to/30DHLpO
I love Scripture Journals as they allow us to record insights while we learn the book of the Bible. Here's the one for Joshua: https://amzn.to/38yhuha
If you are into deep study of Scripture, this one is for you. It's intense and may require you to do some additional learning to fully grasp it (I know it would for me), but this book will give you a thorough understanding of the book of Joshua: https://amzn.to/38BqUZk
The last book I'm recommending is published by the Navigators. Several well known Bible teachers were grounded in this group's teaching. This Bible study has several great features understanding the original word meanings, archeology, history, and application. You can find it here: https://amzn.to/3l8QRV7