Joshua Balances Faith and Planning
(Joshua 8:1-29) – (The Conquest of Ai after the sin of Achan) – When does human planning get in the way of trusting God for results? Or conversely, when does faith become presumption, expecting God to do for us that we must do for ourselves?
All Christian Leaders must learn the proper balance between Divine Faith and Human preparation and responsibility. Joshua demonstrates the beautiful balance as he prepares a second attack on the city of Ai. He began by asking the LORD whether his Army should attack, and if so, when.
1st Example – Conquest of Ai
God ordered the attack, and instructed Joshua to set an ambush, but gave no further details. Joshua planned the campaign, each step under the inspirations of the Holy Spirit – he divided his troops into two divisions and told one to stage an attack on the City. The other group was to wait in ambush until the men of Ai came out. As the men of Ai chased their Attackers, the ambush could close in and allow the Israelites to set the City afire.
The plan worked perfectly. When the men of Ai saw the smoke rising above their homes, they lost heart and quickly fell in battle to Israel. There is the synthesis of Divine Guidance and human strategies. Joshua places his Faith in God for the results but did not hesitate to lay wise plans and execute them.
2nd Example – Conquest of Canaan
(Joshua 5-21) – (Conquest and Distribution of the Land) – Joshua had a plan and goal to follow. The Conquest of Canaan was not a haphazard affair; it was carefully planned and skilfully executed:
- First, Joshua cut straight across the Land and isolated the North from the South.
- Second, he conquered the Cities in the South, followed by the invasion of the North.
Joshua moved quickly to subdue the Population Centres and take control of the Whole Land. More than once, Joshua led his men on an all-night march to catch the Enemy by surprise. It takes planning and strategy to do the work of the LORD successfully. The Leader who drifts with the tide and changes direction with every new wind is not the Leader at all. A Roman Proverb says: “When the pilot doesn’t know what port he is heading for, no wind is the right wind.” If the Leader knows where he is going, he can adjust the sails when the storm starts to blow and still arrive at the right port.
The Successful Leader is not the Person who is always right, because no such Person exists on the face of the earth! The Successful Leader is the Person who make the “best” decision he can and keep on going when he makes mistakes, but he learned from mistakes and knows how to snatch victory out of defeat:
- When he was defeated at Ai, Joshua admitted failure, sought the face of the LORD, went back, and won the battle (Joshua 7 – 8:29).
- When he (Joshua) foolishly made a league with the Gibeonites, he admitted his mistake and put the “mistake” to work for him (Joshua 9).
The American Humourist Elbert Hubbard said: “Experience is the name everyone gives his mistakes.” Someone has said that experience is a tough teacher because it always gives exam first and teaches the lesson afterward:
- If the Leader turns his mistakes into mirrors, he sees only himself and this will make him miserable.
- But if by Faith he turns his mistakes into windows, he sees the LORD and gets the strength he needs to try again.
To quote Elbert Hubbard again: “There is no failure except in no longer trying.”
To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..