By Joyce Mwangi
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body. (Prov. 3:5-8)
The example of Joshua and Israel
I am currently a part of BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) International class of 2018/19 where we are studying ‘People of the Promised Land I’. We have started off with the book of Joshua. One of the key lessons that I am learning from this study so far is how paramount it is for one to inquire of the LORD in EVERYTHING.
What does it mean to inquire of the Lord?
To inquire of the LORD means to ask for directions and guidance from Him. And this also means that unless the LORD leads you, you do not move.
And right there, I feel is where the problem lies in for most of us myself included. We are a people who crave for action, for movement (even when we are sadly moving in the wrong direction). We often times confuse activity with the presence and approval of God. That is not always the case.
Take a look at Joshua. In Joshua chapters 1-5, we see Joshua in continuous communication with the Lord. He is following the Lord’s leading and the result is the miraculous fall of Jericho in chapter 6. In chapter 7 we see defeat. Israel is defeated at Ai. Joshua is distraught and he prostrates himself before the Lord. God calls out sin in the camp and we see the punishment of Achan (lesson for another day), and then now under the Lord’s guidance Ai is defeated in chapter 8.
You would think Joshua and the people would have learnt the ‘success formula’ by now, but noooooo.
Enter the Gibeonites in chapter 9 and in verse 14 we see the mistake repeated yet again:
“The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD” (Joshua 9:14)
The result is deception, Israel falls into deception and makes a covenant with the Gibeonites in direct disobedience to God’s command to expel the inhabitants of the land and not make a covenant with them (Exodus 23: 20-33). The consequences of making a covenant with the inhabitants of the land was clear:
• They will make you sin against Me
• They will be a snare to you
And that is exactly what happened as Israel refused to follow through on God’s explicit instructions on occupying the promised land.
As I have meditated on the Word of God as is written in the book of Joshua, the lesson of ‘inquiring from the Lord’ has become imprinted in my heart.
As I have reflected on my life, decisions and choices I made without inquiring of the LORD and the consequences to date I do not need any further evidence of the importance of this spiritual discipline.
The LORD desires to lead us and to guide us. To show us the way we should walk in as our Good Shepherd. Yet our hearts are always enticing us to:
• rely on our own insight
• be wise in our own eyes
And every time we fall into this trap, things always go south.
Yet every time we inquire of the LORD, we have success.
So, what if like Joshua and Israel you have failed to inquire of the LORD and this has led to failure. What happens to you?
Check out Joshua Chapter 8. As soon as the sin is identified and dealt with in Joshua chapter 7, God tells Joshua:
“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. . .” (Joshua 8:1)
As soon you acknowledge, repent and turn away from relying on your own insight and being wise in your own eyes the LORD is at hand to lead you forward. He is always willing to answer and lead those who inquire of Him. N
This day I put before you the path to success and the path to failure. Choose yea this day the path of sure success: Inquire of the LORD.