Suggested Scripture: Joshua 7
Key Verse: Go, consecrate the people. Tell them “Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord the God of Israel says: That which is devoted is among you O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.”
(Joshua 7:13, NIV)
This verse is taken from the description of what was happening to Israel just before Joshua led them into the Promised Land. God had been telling his people for generations that this day would come and that they would experience victory. However, the Israelites needed to exercise some faith that God would truly follow through on that promise. They needed to trust him completely, even if his methods seemed a little odd.
The children of Israel are being reminded that they need to fully rely on God and put Him first. God is to be the number one focus in their lives, in spite of the fact that they were on the eve of a tremendous change. They were not to allow themselves to become distracted by visions of glory, nor were they to focus solely on the loot they were about to obtain by invading Jericho.
Entering the Promised Land was a success for God’s people. God caused the walls of Jericho to completely collapse, allowing the Israelites to walk in and take the city. Unfortunately, some of the people kept some of the treasures of Jericho, even after being explicitly warned by God not to do so. He asked that they give certain “devoted things” to the church’s treasury. By not doing this, a few people invoked God’s judgment, which prevented them from winning the next battle. When contemplating the loss, the Israelites asked God why he had not given then a victory like they had tasted at Jericho, and God reminded them to get rid of the distractions (the plunder) before he would help them out.
Sometimes it is easy for us to become distracted by material things. We also have a tendency to think that we bring about success in our lives through our own actions. We need to realize that we can do nothing without God. We need to give him the full credit and glory for everything, and keep nothing back for ourselves. Our God is incredibly powerful; we have no excuse for putting earthly things ahead of him on our list of priorities.
Some questions for reflection:
What things get in the way of you focusing solely on God?
Do you trust God for your success?
How can you eliminate worldly distractions in order to be more spiritually devoted to God?