Friday, November 21, 2008

Are you able to stand?

"Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed, neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroythe accursed from among you." Joshua 7:12

Wow! I don't know about you, but that verse got my attention. In my last blog, we talked about overcoming a heavy spirit by thanking and praising the L-rd, and by standing. According to this account in Joshua, the children of Israel tried to stand. As we're commanded in Ephesians, having done all, they stood---or so they thought. In spite of their valiant attempt they met defeat and had to turn their backs in retreat and run for it!

The thing is, the account makes it clear that they went into battle totally expecting to win it! They had previously been victorious whenever they met the enemy; they had no reason to think they would have a different outcome this time. Even Joshua, their leader, was taken by surprise at this defeat!

So, what prevented them from standing, even when having done all, to stand? "Israel hath sinned....", the L-rd revealed to Joshua in verse 11.

One man and his family sinned; that's all it took to cause the defeat of the whole nation of Israel!

On a personal level, if we are having a struggle standing in our battle with the enemy, we would do well to examine ourselves and see if we have sinned or are harboring sin in our hearts.

As a family, if everything is a struggle, and we cannot, as a family, gain victory over the enemy, we need to take inventory and weed out the sin.

As a church, if we find that we cannot gain ground or our prayers are not answered, we need to ask the L-rd to reveal if there is sin, and then deal with it according to the Scriptures.

In order to remove the sin, it has to be exposed. Sin likes to hide in the darkness, and cloak itself in deceptive ways. The Bible calls it, "the deceitfulness of sin". We can have sin in our lives, and be oblivious to it. David prayed, asking the L-rd to keep him "from presumptuous sins" in order that he could be "upright". How fitting---you have to be upright in order to be able to stand! :-)

As a pastor's wife, I have the opportunity to counsel with people who keep getting slapped in the face with defeat. They want to reach the mountain top, but stay in the valley, wandering in the wilderness. They don't understand why they keep having to fight the same battles over and over.

The answer is to first examine ourselves whether we are in the faith, and examine our hearts, asking the L-rd to expose sin in our lives, help us repent of it and renounce it. Then, we will be able to stand; and having done all, to stand, obtain the victory!

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