Fairview Baptist Tabernacle
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Staying Connected
 Archived Pastor's Desk 2016.12.25

December 25 – December 31




Scripture Passage:  “And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear, not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land.”   Joshua 8:1


Dear Friends.


     As the old year ends and a new one begins, I often look back on the previous year and evaluate whether I would have done anything different or not.  The answer is always yes, but as the years have progressed I find myself making fewer mistakes in judgment because I am much slower to make major decisions now.  Sometimes I find myself in a predicament because of decisions others have made.  More often than not, I am totally responsible for my own quandaries.  It is often difficult not to be influenced by emotions and popular opinion when making major decisions. When you have been successful in one battle, it is easy to believe that all is needed is to keep doing the same thing, but the same thing will not work the second time if there is sin in the camp.  Sometimes God’s period of waiting is a period of purging to prepare us for the next battle.  Sometimes that period of waiting is a time of evaluation and seeking God’s will for the upcoming year.  Either way, it is important to know what God’s will is and to wait for our marching orders from the Commander-In-Chief.  To do anything less is a recipe for disaster. 


     Joshua and the people of Israel had just experienced a decisive victory over the people of Jericho.  Faced by overwhelming odds and superior military might, the Hebrews had won the victory without losing a single life.  They followed God’s plan meticulously and enjoyed instant success.  As they prepared to do battle against the people of Ai, there seemed to be no reason to delay the deployment of troops and an immediate attack.  The only problem was there was a secret sin in the camp and if Joshua had delayed to seek God’s face, He would have revealed this to him.  By jumping headstrong into the fray without first seeking God’s direction, they met with an unexpected end and national embarrassment.  Joshua was caught totally off guard and disappointed and hurt by the outcome.  It is so easy to take things for granted when everything is going well that we often do not take time to pray and seek God’s face for even the smallest of decisions.  God revealed the reason for the defeat and gave Joshua directions for making the corrections needed for success.  The only thing Joshua did wrong was not waiting on the Lord. 


     There is an unusual twist to this story.  The very thing that had been forbidden the first time around, was provided as spoils for the victory the second time.  In verse number two of the eighth chapter, the Lord tells Joshua, “the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves.”  If Achan had only waited until the second battle, the spoils would have been provided and this disaster could have been avoided.  Instead he disobeyed God, thirty-six innocent people lost their lives, and his family was compromised by their involvement in the deception.  What we do always affects those around us and often has deadly consequences.  So would Achan have done things differently if he had been given a second chance?  You bet he would have.  That is the difference in the law and grace. 
The law gives us what we deserve, grace gives us mercy.  May we learn lessons from the mistakes we have made in the past and take advantage of the grace that has been extended to us.  That is one of the joys of starting a new year.  God bless. 


In Christ,


Pastor Johnny