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Hidden Insecurity

God had worked in a truly spectacular way when he delivered Jericho into the hands of Joshua and the Israelites. Although they had to go into the ruined city to eliminate those that lived there and to take the spoils of victory for the treasury of the Lord's house, God had done all the "heavy lifting." Israel only had to be obedient (I know that isn't easy) for God to cause the walls to fall down, but there was no direct correlation between walking around Jericho and the collapse of it walls that would give Joshua or Israel any idea that they had won the battle. And yet when they faced the next city, Ai, Joshua didn't wait for God. He didn't look for the supernatural, instead he made a plan, and followed human reasoning into defeat. Just prior to the battle of Jericho, Joshua had encountered the commander of the Lord's army and had been given a clear strategy to follow. But when it came to Ai, Joshua didn't rely on God, but upon the outlook and strategy of men. So when they were defeated at the gate of Ai, and chased away, "the hearts of the people melted and became like water." Even Joshua cried out to God with "why" and "if only." Joshua the mighty military leader of Israel was insecure. It is important to realize that as Joshua stood in the shadow of Moses, he must have learned of Moses' reliance upon God. God even told Joshua "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." Those words should produce extraordinary confidence in anyone, but for Joshua the next words God spoke to him were "Be strong and courageous." God only speaks the truth to what he knows we need to hear and so to Joshua, who must have been questioning his own leadership, God said "trust me" in spite of what you see around you. The tribes of Israel even told him "be strong and courageous" as if they saw the insecurity in him. Joshua knew to rely on God, but at Ai he didn't and it cost him. Yes, there was sin in the camp, but Joshua would have known that if he had spoken to God first and not after they had already failed. Insecurity can be seen in reluctance, but it can also be seen in self-reliance. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but just as insecurity is found in the fearful weakling, it is also found in the aggressive bully. The same insecurity that seeks to hide from conflict, can hide behind a facade of aggression. Joshua was looking at what just happened in Jericho and thought, "we don't need God to overcome Ai. We have our own strength, so it will take only a small number of us." But we were made to rely on God and we will always be insecure when we rely on anything other than God. So when Joshua sent the smaller force to Ai, they lost. Not because of the size of the force, but because they put their security in their own strength. If Joshua had sought God first, then they would have found Achan's sin and dealt with it accordingly and God would have given them the victorious strategy for Ai. While the Father wants us to be confident, to be bold and courageous, he also wants us to trust in him, his plans, his power, and not look to our own abilities. The God of the insecure is a God who wants us to be secure only in him.

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