Devotions for the Praying Heart
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Joshua rose up early in the morning and mustered the men, and went up with the elders of Israel before the warriors to Ai. And all the fighting men who were with him went up and drew near before the city and encamped on the north side of [it], with a ravine between them and Ai. And he took about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, west of the city. So they stationed all the army … and Joshua went that night into midst of the ravine.
Joshua 8:10 – 13 Amp 

We can learn a lot about how to steward our hearts from the Old Testament leader, Joshua. He once faced a challenge much like the Lord has given us. He once stood with the wilderness behind him, the Promised Land ahead of him, and heard the Lord say, “Arise … go over … you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them” (Joshua 1:2 Amp).

Just like Joshua, you and I are standing on the edge of a Promised Land. God has given us a Bible full of promises (all of which are “yes and amen” in Christ) and called us to possess them by faith. We are what you might call a Joshua Generation. So we would be wise to look at what God told him to do and apply it to our lives. We should live as if the words in Joshua 1:8 were spoken directly to us:

This Book of the Law [this written Word of God, this Bible] shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. (Joshua 1:8 Amp)

If you’ve studied the life of Joshua, you know that he took those instructions quite seriously. When he faced tough battles in the Promised Land, he didn’t say, “I don’t have time to meditate on God’s Book. I have an army to train.”

On the contrary, when Joshua found himself under pressure, he spent more time—not less—in the Word.

Take the battle of Ai, for example. It should have been an easy battle because the population of Ai was much smaller than Jericho. The first time Joshua tried to conquer Ai, his army suffered a terrible defeat. He didn’t know it at the time, but one of his soldiers had disobeyed God’s command not to keep any of the spoils of war from their previous battle with Jericho. So before the second attempt to take the city, Joshua made sure he was fully prepared by spending the night “in the midst of the ravine.”

What did spending the night in a ravine have to do with winning the battle?

Some Rabbis say that “Joshua lodged in the depth of the Law.” Joshua did what the Lord told him to do as his position was strategic in winning the battle. Then he went out, conquered Ai, and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

That is a lesson we all need to learn. If we want to see our defeats turned to victory, we must prepare for life’s battles like Joshua did—in the depths of the ravine. We must realize we can only win them with the Word.

Scripture Reading: Joshua 8:1 – 22

Source: Devotions for the Praying Heart by Lynne Hammond.
Excerpt permission granted by Lynne Hammond Ministries

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