Joshua, fresh off the victories at Jericho and Ai, reviewed and renewed the covenant with Israel. Having learned a lesson at Ai, one would hope Joshua had learned his lesson. At Jericho, Joshua let God be his commander in chief. Fresh off this victory, he should have consulted God before his initial attack on Ai, but sadly, he did not. The result, defeat was snatched from the jaws of a sure victory.
All this should have cemented in Joshua the importance of allowing God to be the leader of Israel. But strangely, upon returning to Gilgal, they were tricked by a wile enemy.
Ephesians 6:13-18 describes to the Christian the whole armor of God. This armor can only be achieved by having a relationship with God. It can only help us when we are continually in communion with God. But Joshua, when faced with this wily foe, failed to take this simplest of requests to God and allow God to lead.
The enemy does not always come as a roaring lion or a serpent talking from a tree. Often he comes with deceit so subtle that we often miss it. All can look ligament, yet later we find out the truth and see that we have been tricked. This is why God invites us through a relationship and only through a relationship with Him to put on the whole armor of God. Then when the Gibeonites in our life come, we will rely upon God to show us the error.
The Prophet Habakkuk was troubled, for everywhere was evil, injustice, and violence. He cried, “Do something about this! God, why will you not hear?!
God responded, “Don’t worry, Habakkuk, I got this. I am sending the Chaldeans (Babylonians).”
Habakkuk responds, “What?! How can this be? Are they not worse than we are? Are you not God. Have you also marked them for correction? You cannot behold evil and wickedness. Why then are you sending the Chaldeans? Nevertheless, I will see what you do.”
The key is Habakkuk 2:4. “But the just shall live by his faith.”
Throughout human history, humanity’s faith constantly fails. What is Habakkuk saying?
Paul in Romans 1:16, 17 gives us the answer. Paul and Habakkuk are talking about God’s faithfulness. “The Just live by God’s faithfulness to do as promised.” Habakkuk correctly states, “humanity’s faith constantly fails, but God’s faithfulness toward us lasts forever.” Therefore, let us watch and see how God will work.
The Prophet Amos, painted a vivid word picture, the circles of a target, Amos then paints a bullseye placing God’s church of the Old Testament at the heart of this prophetic target. Starting with Damascus, Amos paints seven rings of judgment then painted Israel as the bullseye. For each nation it says, “For three transgressions and for four.” We find the imagery confusing. Amos is saying, “Judgment is coming, but delayed.” Why the delay? Because God extends mercy beyond our expectation. But the focus of God’s extended mercy and eventual judgment is Israel.
Israel, God’s church of the Old Testament, failed to extend love, compassion and mercy to the nations around them. Israel then became the object of God’s judgment. Yet, as He extended mercy to the surrounding countries, He also does for Israel. Eventually, Israel is judged for their lack of effort.
The question is. Today, has God’s church failed to extend the same mercy, love, and compassion toward others as His church of old? Has our selfishness and indifference caused us to love self more than others? If so, then what judgment lies before us?