Good morning! Take your Bible and get it open to Joshua, chapter 8. We’ve been going verse-by-verse through the book of Joshua, and I just want to say at the outset of this message, this chapter of Scripture is a passage that no one in their right mind would ever preach, unless you were committed to walking verse-by-verse through books of the Bible.
I, quite honestly, would like to skip this particular chapter. This particular chapter is not one that I would use to introduce someone to God. If this is your first time in church, and you’re wondering who God is, this is not the chapter I would open up to, to introduce you to God. However, it’s not a chapter that is to be neglected.
Just to review where we’ve been, through the book of Joshua: If you remember, Joshua chapter 6—it was kind of the high point. It was a great spiritual victory! We learned that spiritual victories are fought and won by faith, as we saw the example of the people of God surrounding Jericho. The walls fell because they obediently followed God, and God gave them that great victory.
Then you turn the page and get to chapter 7, and you find the low point in the book—it’s spiritual defeat. We realize that being presumptuous when going into a battle before God sent you, is very dangerous! So, we find the people of God being defeated by this insignificant, underdog city called Ai. And we learned, the reason is because there was sin in the camp, and of course that will forfeit any victory. Now we come to chapter 8, and the question is, “Can the people of God experience a comeback after a defeat?”
How many of you have watched a college basketball game in the last month? Raise your hand. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has been going on. And if you remember back to the second round, there was this incredible game between Northern Iowa (who even knew Northern Iowa had a basketball team?), and they were up against Texas A & M University.
Texas A & M was the higher seed—they were favored. And yet, Northern Iowa was crushing Texas A & M, all the way up until the final forty-four seconds. Northern Iowa was ahead by twelve points. With thirty-one seconds left, they were ahead by ten points. Somehow, Northern Iowa lost that game! Texas A & M had an incredible comeback right in the midst and right on the verge of a defeat.
The question for you and I this morning is this: “Is it possible to recover from sinful defeat?” Here is the point of the message this morning—it’s simply this:
Every sinful setback is a setup for a spiritual comeback.
Why is that significant? As we walk through this passage of Scripture, this is a passage of Scripture you could just kind of read as ancient Israel’s history.
We want to find out this morning, are there any life lessons to be learned from this particular chapter of Scripture? There are five affirmations of a person who says, “I need a comeback! I’ve experienced defeat, and I need a comeback!” We’re going to see those; the first of those is this:
- I will arise from the ashes of previous defeat. (v. 1)
I want you to see it here from the Scripture. Look here in Joshua chapter 8, verse 1: “And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land.” Can you imagine what Joshua was thinking after the defeat that he faced at Ai? “Can we ever recover from this?” Joshua needed the assurance that God was still with him. Joshua needed the assurance that He wanted him to go onward, even though he had failed miserably in front of Ai, this people.
Have you ever been there? Do you know who I’m thinking of in this congregation right now? I am thinking of some people who are so discouraged, so depressed, so defeated—because of the sin that you’ve committed in the past twenty-four hours, the past week, the past month, or the past decade—that you think that you can’t go onward, because you’ve failed so miserably.
I’m thinking about people who have lost their passion that they once had for Christ and they’re paralyzed by apathy and caught up in some lifeless religious routine. Yeah, you’re here this morning, you came to church because it’s Sunday, and that’s what you do. But if the truth were to be known, and you took the mask off, what we would find is a person who is incredibly defeated and trapped—maybe even addicted to sin. Do you know what God’s message is for you this morning? You need to arise from the ashes of previous defeat and go onward. You need a comeback.
I’m thinking of somebody here who may have been hurt, neglected, abused by some other person, to the point where you think you no longer have value; you no longer have dignity. You’ve kind of accepted this role that you’re unimportant, you’re insignificant, and God wouldn’t want to even have anything to do with you—and God couldn’t accomplish anything in or through you. You need a comeback!
I’m thinking of somebody here who has lost a sense of mission and purpose in life, somebody who—quite honestly, if the truth were known—you feel like you’d be better off dead. And you’ve even thought about taking some initiative to make that happen. Hear me this morning! You need a comeback. You can have the life of God, and the mission and the purpose—that God intended—operating in your life this morning, if you will arise from the ashes of previous defeat!
I’m thinking about somebody here who maybe has become quite skeptical about even the existence of God or the goodness of God, or the “fairness” of God. Yeah, you came to church when you were young and you heard all those Bible stories, and somehow you made some kind of profession of faith. But then you got older and you landed in your freshman philosophy class in college, and some hater of God began to put lies in your head. Then you thought you were smarter than all those people who had communicated the goodness of God to you. Quite honestly, you are struggling with doubt this morning. You need a comeback. You need to renew your faith in the things that God has revealed about Himself to you, as a treasured possession of His.
I’m thinking of somebody here who has an independent spirit and has stubbornly resisted the counsel of someone who loves you, and you find yourself now having been destroyed by wrong decisions that you regret. You’re wondering, “Those people, whose counsel I rejected, would they even accept me again? Can I even go back and put myself back into relationship with them?” You need a comeback.
You may be too weak, too discouraged, too depressed, too defeated to think that you can move onward. You need a comeback. All of those scenarios are represented in this room, and if that’s you, you’re facing some of the same emotions that Joshua must have felt here in chapter 8, after he had been defeated.
There’s good news in verse 1. I want you to see it here. What did Joshua need to hear? He needed to hear, first of all, that he shouldn’t fear. There’s nothing to fear. Do you see it there in verse 1? Joshua needed to be reassured, “You are loved! I’m not finished with you!” Maybe that’s what you need to hear. Maybe the message for you this morning is simply that three-word phrase, “Do not fear!” You can move onward!
Or maybe you need to hear this: “I am forgiven.” The passage says not only, “Do not fear!” but it also says, “Do not dismay!” The word “dismay” means to be trapped in utter chaos: “I do not know what to do next! I’m totally confused.” That’s what sin does in your life, it brings guilt and shame and it paralyzes you so you can’t move forward. And you can’t move forward until you know that you are loved and you know that you are forgiven.
God goes on and says, “Take all the fighting men with you; arise and go up!” You need to know, God has a mission for you. And if you’re going to arise and go, like we just said, you need to understand, there is stuff that God wants you to get done in a collective body of people. Are you on mission for God? You can be on mission. God has a purpose for your life! It’s not an accident that you’re placed where you are, with the gifts that you have.
You need to know this: I am protected! Notice again in verse 1, “I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land.” So, what are you afraid of? God has promised protection in the assignment that He’s given you. What would you do, this next six months, for God, if you knew there was a zero probability of failure? What would you do if you honestly believed that God is protecting you—and you are indestructible until God’s finished with you? What would you do? That’s what Joshua needed to hear.
And then, finally this: I am not alone. Do you see it there? God says, “Take all the fighting men.” If you’re new to Harvest, I would just like to let you know, if you join a part of this church, you are surrounded by some men who are willing to fight for you. We are not doing this alone—we’re not strong enough, we’re not smart enough to do it alone. We need each other. We’re going to find out later that Joshua had thirty-thousand men at his disposal to accomplish the mission that God had for him.
So, if you’re going to make a comeback, you need to know: “I am loved; I am forgiven; I am on mission; I am protected, and I am not alone!” Let’s get up, let’s get moving, and let’s make a comeback!
Here’s the second thing:
- I will take the protection of my purity as seriously as God does. (v. 2-17)
Now, before I read this next section of Scripture – as a matter of fact, I’m going to summarize a large portion of it – I want you to know that what we’re about to read is absolutely horrific. What I’m about to read to you is what many Bible skeptics and unbelievers use as an excuse for not worshipping the God of the Bible.
The reason we’re looking at is because we want a full picture of who God is, and we’re about to see some things about God that some of you are not going to like. As a matter of fact, some of you at the end of this are going to have trouble worshipping the God who is described in this passage of Scripture.
Can I give you this warning? If you cannot worship the God who is described in this passage, then you are worshipping a god of your own imagination. Let’s read what God says He did to His enemy, beginning in Joshua 8:2: “’And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves…” Remember, God didn’t let them take the plunder from Jericho; but this time He’s saying, “It’s all available to you after you have won the victory.”
He goes on, “’Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.’” (verse 3) “So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. And Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night.” Now, let me kind of summarize the rest of this little scenario here. If you read down through the passage, this is what happened.
Joshua took those thirty-thousand men and he hid them (I don’t know how you hide thirty-thousand men) on the other side of Ai, out of sight. Then he took another five-thousand men and approached the city as if he was going to attack it. Well, that was very familiar to Ai, because that had happened in the previous chapter, and Ai had just come out and whipped those—at that point—three-thousand men. Ai says, “Okay, you want round two? We’ll come out and punch you again!”
So, here comes Ai out of the city, and the five-thousand men turn and pretend that they’re running in fear, while the thirty-thousand men come out and ambushed those who had come out of the city. They entered the city and killed every citizen of Ai: every man, every woman, every boy, every child, every pregnant woman, every infant.
We read about it here down in verses 24 and 25 of Joshua chapter 8: “When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword. And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai.”
Do you realize what we just read? This was genocide. This was Joshua’s jihad. You say, “What? Wait a minute here! I thought we were against jihad.” I mean, we look at places on the globe where jihad is taking place, and that’s where we want to go stop it. So, how can we read this passage of Scripture and worship a God who would order the complete annihilation of a group of people?
There are five things I want you to know about what we just read. First of all, this: God took no pleasure in what happened at Ai. We know that because of this passage of Scripture, Ezekiel 33:11: “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked [would] turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die…?” Please understand, it grieved the heart of God to watch what took place there in Ai.
Then this: God’s command to Joshua, in this passage of Scripture, was limited in its scope. What I want you to understand is that what we’re reading here is a description of history. It can never, will never, should never be taken as a prescription ever to be repeated again by the people of God.
He put his crosshairs on a specific group of people—Ai. It was to take place in a specific geographical territory; it was to take place at a specific time period. We’re reading history. For you to take this passage of Scripture and to somehow use it to go out wipe out your neighbor, or your ex-wife, or your children because you don’t like them—that is not your prerogative. Joshua was responding to and obeying a specific direct command of God. So, this is a limited commandment that was given.
Thirdly, this: You have to understand who these people were. The city of Ai, and the region that is called Canaan—the group of people there—the Canaanites had assaulted the holiness of God by the wickedness of their sin. I don’t know if you know anything about pagan, godless cultures in ancient times. You say, “Well, where did these people come from?”
You have to trace it back through the family tree and you end up back at Noah’s ark. You remember Noah’s ark? Eight people were saved; three of Noah’s sons. This race of people came from the line of Ham, one of Noah’s sons. Ham had a son named Canaan. And from that line came this godless people who rejected the goodness and the kindness and the holiness of God. They created gods in their own image and they began to practice pagan religion that was full of pornography, full of idolatry, and yes—even human sacrifice.
A few weeks ago, as I told you, Andrea and I along with Micah and pastors from five other Harvest Bible Chapels got together, and we went down to the Central American country of Belize. We were down there recruiting pastors. I think we’re going to be able to raise up pastors to plant three Harvest Bible Chapel churches down in Belize, probably in the course of the next year—we’re really excited about that.
But, while we were there, we took a little tour of some ancient Mayan ruins. Do you know anything about the Mayan ruins? I didn’t know anything about them. We had a tour guide who took us along there, and they showed us these mounds. The Mayans had a civilization that had their own currency, their own recreation (they had their own NCAA tournament, apparently) and they had their own places of worship.
We came to one of the places of worship and the guide was telling us all the incredible things about the Mayan people, but he left out a few things. One of the things he left out was, as they would worship, do you know what one of the elements of their worship was? They would sacrifice their own sons and daughters to their idea of “God.” Apparently, they thought God was angry at them.
As a matter of fact, he was. And to appease his anger, in their own pagan understanding of this god (with a little “g”), they would say, “We’ve got to show god how serious we are so that he won’t be angry with us anymore. I know, I know—we’ll take the most precious thing to us—we will slice the throat of our own son; he will bleed to death in the worship, and that will show god how serious we are about wanting to be in right relation with him.”
Pagan religion. Did that appease the anger of God? Yes or no? No. The only thing that can appease the anger of God is for God to sacrifice His own Son, to allow Him to bleed out so that you and I could be in right relationship with Him. That’s the God of the Bible. That’s the gospel. That’s what we rejoice in. That’s who we worship.
And the good news is this: That Son rose from the dead, proving Himself to be victorious over sin, death and judgment! That’s the only thing that can appease the anger of God and put us in right relationship with Him. So, it’s interesting, isn’t it, how that Mayan culture—the culture in Ai—had invented this pagan, wicked, horrible religion! And God had had enough! Aren’t you glad you weren’t a citizen of Ai? Aren’t you glad you don’t live in a culture like that anymore? That would invent false forms of religion that would involve pornographic images and sacrifice our own children because they’re in the way? “Man, I’m glad God’s not like that anymore!” Wait a minute.
Do you understand, there’s only one God and He doesn’t change? You say, “Can we just kind of get over to the New Testament? I like the God of the New Testament a lot better than…” Wait, wait! You want to see a New Testament passage? Here it is. How about Romans?
The apostle Paul planted a church in Rome, and he’s writing a letter back and he’s reminding the Romans not to forget something. He says, “Take note. Don’t forget.” Do you like to take notes? (Romans 11:22): “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen…” in the pagan religion and the self-righteous religion “…but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.”
Isn’t that our tendency, to either forget the kindness of God and create some rule-oriented religion where God kind of just sends lightning bolts every time you step out of line? And boy, that ought to motivate you to obey. How well does that motivate you to obey? Not great!
But, on the other side, do you know what we do? We tend to want to forget about the severity of God, and we just kind of create this kind God who just loves us and just kind of tolerates everything, and He doesn’t really care what you do anymore. Just be happy, whatever. No, no! Don’t forget the severity of God and how seriously He takes sin.
Again, in the book of Romans chapter 2, verse 4: “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience…?” Great question for us today. Are you just kind of presuming that God will be nice toward you—because you’re just kind of a likable person? I mean, you’re not like one of those citizens of Ai. You would never do something like that!
And yet, God says this: “…not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” If the kindness of God is not enough motivation to change your behavior and turn you away from the grip of sin, you need to be reminded of the severity of God. “Because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself, on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be (future) revealed.”
You say, “Aww, not my precious Jesus! ‘Jesus loves me, this I know…’ Can we just sing that right now? I just feel like we need to sing that right now!” Wait, wait, we’re talking about a story that is meant to remind us today, in 2016, how serious God is about sin. Either God’s kindness will lead you to repentance, or unrepentance will lead you to God’s wrath. That’s the warning that God has preserved for us in Joshua 8.
The fear of God’s severity should lead us to race to God’s kindness. But we don’t do that. But do you know what happens when you realize that the severity of God has been diverted to Jesus Christ? And Jesus Christ has endured the severity of God to make a way for you and I to have access to the kindness of God? That creates a humble, trembling approach to God that wants to turn from every sin and rejoice in the grace that is available. This is amazing grace.
The kindness of God has no weight if you do not consider the severity of God’s wrath. With every sin, you put a drop in the bucket that one day will be spilled out in wrath toward sin. God is serious about protecting His people!
Why was it necessary to annihilate every person in Ai? It was because Ai had been infected with sin, and it was terminal, and it was contagious, and God’s people were now moving into the territory Ai occupied, and He didn’t want there to be cross-contamination. So, God wanted His people to be pure.
And then, finally, God—you have to understand—had been incredibly patient with the Canaanites. The first time we read about the Canaanites is way back in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, in chapter 15. As God begins to reveal Himself to Abram, He prophesies, and actually tells about what is getting ready to happen in Joshua chapter 8.
God says, “Know for certain that your offspring…” Abraham, godly man whose offspring would become the nation of Israel “…will be sojourners in a land…” – they’re going to be wanderers, they’re going to be traveling around, they’re going to be nomads – “…that is not theirs and will be servants there…” Now He’s speaking about the time that they were enslaved in Egypt. “…And they will be afflicted for four hundred years.” God tells about all of this before it ever happens.
Then He says this (verse 16)—they shall make a comeback. “And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites…” Amorites, a group of the Canaanites—these are Ai people “…is not yet complete.” The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete. What does that mean? It, again, is a reference to this kind of bucket. The NIV even, I think, alludes to a cup that is not yet full.
Several weeks ago, I walked into our home—came through the garage, which leads right into the kitchen—and when I walked in, I didn’t see any Griffith anywhere around. But I looked over on the counter and there was a big measuring cup, about a gallon in capacity, and the faucet had been turned over so that the water from the faucet would go in the cup. But the cup had filled up a long time ago and the water was still running, and it was all over the counter. It was all over the kitchen. The kitchen was flooding in the Griffith home.
Now, I knew that my family was somewhere in the house, so I turned off the faucet and went and looked for Andrea. And sure enough, she had gotten distracted with kids—and some of you people that text her all the time – and she was doing a thousand different things, and she’d forgotten that she’d turned the water on but hadn’t stopped to turn it off. And it was flooding.
Do you know what that’s a picture of? It’s a picture of the time that God’s patience will run out, and all of the sin of all people who have never repented of sin will flood over and be poured out on them in judgment. You say, “Really?” Can I ask you a question? What do you think the name of the God who annihilated Ai was? What was His Name? His Name was Jesus. “Not Jesus! I mean, He’s New Testament—I mean, He didn’t show up until He was born in Bethlehem?”
Ah, ah…there’s only one God. “Well, I’m sure He would never act like that!” Have you ever read the book of Revelation? Can I just read to you a portion of Revelation chapter 19 (verses 11-15), in case you are under the illusion that God does not take sin that seriously? Listen to this: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True” capital letters, “and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.”
“From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” That’s Jesus Christ. Who is serious about protecting the purity of His people. How serious are you about sin that threatens to destroy you?
As a matter of fact, that’s the third point here. If you’re going to make a comeback, you’re going to have to make this commitment:
- I will make war with every sin that attempts to destroy (v. 18-29)
Look here in verse 18, part of the battle plan that God gives to Joshua: “Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.’ And Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city.” Then, look down at verse 26, “But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.”
Do you know what a javelin is? That’s a javelin. Do you know what this javelin is meant to do? Of course, we use it in sporting competitions now. See who can throw it the farthest. In Joshua’s day, this was a weapon of war, and for you and I, the application that we should glean from this passage is this: “Have you accessed the weapons of war for the enemies that are attempting to destroy you by your sin?”
The Bible doesn’t actually even tell us that Joshua ever threw the javelin. As a matter of fact, it was kind of a sign to the thirty-thousand about when they were supposed to come out. I don’t know if he pointed at the enemy and kind of directed traffic there on the battlefield, but, for certain, you and I are in a battle. As a matter of fact, Colossians 3:5 and 6 tells us this, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…” Give me an idea what that would be. “Sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Then notice this, “On account of these the wrath of God is coming.” Don’t forget how seriously God takes our sin.
What about the weapons of our warfare? They’re not javelins and spears and swords and guns. They’re the weapons that God has given us in Ephesians chapter 6: the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of truth which is the Word of God. How often are you accessing the weapons God has made available to you? It’s no wonder you’re already defeated. You don’t access the weapons that God has given you.
Here’s the fourth thing. If you’re going to make a comeback:
- I will remember that God withholds no good thing from those that love (v. 27)
Real quick, look at Joshua 8:27: “Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the Lord that he commanded Joshua.” Do you remember the reason they were defeated in chapter 7? It was because of the sin of Achan. What was the sin of Achan? He saw a nice garment, and he thought he would look good in the garment. He knew that it was prohibited, and yet he took it anyway and he hid it in his tent. It cost him his very life.
What if Achan had just waited? He wasn’t allowed to shop at the mall in Jericho, but he was allowed everything that he found in Ai. If he could have only delayed gratification, God would have fulfilled his desire. The same is true for you and me.
Back in the garden of Eden, the serpent came to Eve, the very first temptation to sin. What did the serpent use to tempt her? The one thing that God had prohibited. Instead of focusing on all the good things that she had access to, and all the good things God had given her, the serpent got her to think about the one thing that God had withheld, and got her to doubt the goodness of God in withholding it.
The same is true for every temptation that you and I partake of. Every time you dive into sexual immorality, every time you dive into an appetite of your flesh, you are simply showing that you can’t delay gratification and believe that what God said is good, and what God said is wrong is bad for you.
Listen. We’ve been promised Heaven. One day, the pleasures of Heaven! Unrestrained joy, unhindered worship of every type will be accessible to us. And yet, what do we do down here on earth? We take stuff that’s off-limits because we can’t delay our satisfaction. We don’t believe that what God says “no” to is not good for us.
And then, finally, this:
- I will keep God’s law in view at all times. (v. 30-35)
I hope you’ll take time to read the chapter on your own, but skip down to verse 30: “At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the people of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, ‘an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.’ And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings.”
So, when this battle was over with, it was time to come together in worship, it was time to come together and give God glory for what He done. And God said, “I want you to take stones and build an altar, but don’t be tempted to carve and craft images into the stone because that’s idolatry. You’re going to create a false god.” But then, what did He carve into the stones?
Look down at verse 32, “And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written.” Do you know what they put on the stones? They put the Ten Commandments on the stones. Then, so they wouldn’t forget those…go down to verse 34, “And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse…”
We find that in Deuteronomy chapter 32, God says, “If you obey me there’s a blessing; if you disobey me, there’s a curse—and He gives us a description. God wanted us to know both His severity and His kindness, all the way back during this time. And then, verse 35: “There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel [the men], and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.” He didn’t leave the hard parts out, because He didn’t want them creating a god from their own imaginations.
Are you going to make a comeback? You need to be reassured that God is so kind, He’s made a way for you to know you are loved, you are significant, you are on mission, you are not alone. He gives us this picture to warn us that we’re not to create a god in our own image.
Are you going to make a comeback? Some of you need to come back. Some of you have been so defeated, so discouraged, so depressed. This may be the first time in decades you’ve even considered that you could go onward with God, if you will by faith put to death those things that displease God and are threats to your purity. That’s what He’s calling you to this morning.
You say, “I just don’t know if I can live it out.” Of course you can’t live it out. He wants to fill you with His Spirit. He wants to live it out through you, but you have to make yourself available to Him. Why don’t we just bow our heads and close our eyes?
Where are you today? Are you living in victory, or are you living defeated, discouraged? Are you ready to be reminded of the law of God, the boundaries of His protection on your life? He doesn’t want you to be defeated, He doesn’t want you living in fear. Why don’t you thank Him right now for speaking to you today? Why don’t you acknowledge to Him that you’ve allowed schemes of the devil, appetites of the flesh, temptations of the world, the enemies of God to defeat you? Tell Him you’re ready to make a comeback. Ask Him to fill your heart with courage and boldness. Receive His forgiveness as you confess your sin. Understand that, one day, God turned the javelin of His judgment and threw it at His own Son so that you could be made right with Him. He doesn’t want your religion—He wants you.