READ: Joshua 7:1-8:35 (esp., v2-9)
- Confident…maybe overly confident? After the amazing victory at Jericho, Joshua sent a small contingent to the little town of Ai (no bigger than its name). But men lost their lives and Israel was sent running back to camp. Something went horribly wrong. Joshua did what you might expect; he fell before God to ask for insight and explanation. The leaders of Israel threw dust on their heads as a sign of grief and distress.
- Joshua’s absolute trust in God produced the only conclusion Joshua could reach; God must have done this. After all, God was directly in charge of the victory at Jericho so He must be directly involved in the defeat at Ai. But, Joshua’s concern is for more than an explanation of the defeat. He’s primarily concerned for God’s name. If Israel is stopped by a little group like Ai, what will people think of God’s power and name?
- If only we might all share that deep concern. How many of us are more concerned about God’s name than our own? How many of us make decisions about what we might or might not do based solely on how it will impact God’s name in a family or community? What might happen if a church was more concerned about God’s name in a community instead of their own?
- Why do you think Joshua took the defeat so hard?
- Reflect on a decision you made based on how it would impact God’s name.
- Why do you think we are so good at disconnecting our decisions (and their consequences) from God’s reputation in a community?
Thank God for stories such as these that remind us of our priorities. Ask God to help you take God’s name more seriously. Commit to living for God’s glory…always.