"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.” -Joshua 8:1 ESV
Israel had suffered a defeat at Ai because of moral compromise. Not following the Lord and His Word wholeheartedly had led to failure. Now they had dealt with that sin and were ready to get back on track with what God had promised them, but they were disheartened and fearful. Their confidence that God could or would take them through to victory was shaken.
God had promised them that the promised land would be theirs, but that didn’t mean it would happen without a fight. They had to take into account things like strategy, battle tactics, supply lines, fatigue, morale, and their enemies’ strengths and weaknesses. And as they had learned at great cost, they had to do it God’s way.
So right now what they needed most was to get their eyes firmly fixed on God and His Promises and step out in faith, obeying His instructions. The victory was guaranteed, if they would only approach it in God’s way and trust in Him.
So God begins again with these words: “Don’t be afraid or discouraged. Take everyone with you; get up and move forward. Look! I have given it to you.”
We have hit an impasse in what God has planned for Calvary. We can’t even meet together. We wonder how we can ever afford to go on. It looks like we’re stuck, like nothing is happening. We wonder what will happen next.
God is in control. Don’t fear or be dismayed by the apparent difficulties. All together now, let’s get our eyes on the Lord and what He has promised us. We move forward on our knees.
If we will proceed in God’s way, staying faithful to His Word and trusting in Him, there will be struggles but victory and the advancement of His Kingdom in this place is guaranteed.
Lord Jesus, lead us. I, for one, will follow. Take us forward as a congregation and give us the “land” that you have brought us here to take in your name. Help me to do this your way; keep my eyes on You and your faithfulness. Amen!