This is Day 8 of a series of posts for the month of October. I’m joining Kate Motaung over at Five Minute Friday for the annual Write 31 Days challenge. I will write about themes found in the book of Joshua each day, with a different word prompt.
Today’s word prompt is PLAN.
They had a plan.
They went up to Ai to spy on the city, to see what their plan of attack should be. When they came back, they said to only send 2 or 3 thousand men, because there just weren’t that many of them to defeat. They expected a short battle with just a few men.
This was their plan. They planned for success.
But they didn’t know that God’s blessing had left them.
The sin of Achan, directly disobeying God by taking some of the things devoted for God’s treasury (6:18-19), had a collective consequence for the people of God. It wasn’t just Achan, the one who first disobeyed, that was punished.
Of the 3,000 went up to attack the city of Ai, 36 were killed. Considering the wars and battles and mass shootings we hear about today, that seems like a small number. But for God’s people, who had lost no one… who had the promise of God fighting for them… who obeyed God doing crazy things like blowing trumpets to bring down a six-foot-thick wall… 36 men dying was a big deal. Their defeat was a big deal.
It wasn’t part of their plan.
It’s no wonder Joshua tore his clothes off in mourning before the Lord. (Joshua 7:6) after this defeat. He knew it had nothing to do with the strength of the men in Ai that they lost. Because Joshua knew God was the one fighting for them. So he knew God was the one who brought about their defeat.
Planning is a never-ending tension in the life of a Christ follower. God is sovereign, and we must also do stuff. We must make choices, plan our days and weeks. Plan for emergencies by keeping a savings, make and keep doctor’s appointments to keep ourselves healthy. Our whole lives as Americans is about planning, really.
Yet we must hold these plans so loosely. In our hands and our hearts.
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Holding our plans loosely is often what keep people away from God. They fear being out of control, being forced to do things, not knowing what is ahead.
But the promise we have is that the one who plans and directs our steps is the one who created us, loves us, and knows us intimately.
Following his plan is easier when we understand the depth of his love for us. He is always for us, which means no matter what his plan looks like, it is GOOD.