born on the way

Today's devotion from Joshua 5 & 6.

Our readings in Joshua 5 and 6 are curious to me. We often skip chapter 5, and go right into the dramatic victory over Jericho. There’s a good reason for this. The Israelites had no business defeating the fortified city of Jericho, with or without Rahab’s help. However, the reason chapter 6 reveals victory is because it follows chapter 5.

Chapter 5 is a bit of an enigma. One would think that the Israelites should have struck while the iron was hot. They had emotional and psychological momentum carrying them forward from the successful crossing of the Jordan. Why would they stop now to circumcise their men? Shouldn’t they move forward in taking the land? They can always follow through with ceremony and ritual once their enemies were dealt with, right?

Not really. You see, there was no hope for defeating Jericho or any of their enemies if God were not with them. Their campaign in the Promised Land was as much a spiritual war as it was a physical one. If they had any hope of victory, it must come at the hands of God directly. If He were to intervene on their behalf, they knew that their relationship with Him had to take priority.

Too many people think that God is only interested in the finished product. By that, I mean that they mistakenly think that God wants them all clean and churchy before He will go to work in their lives. They couldn't be more wrong. The simple truth is that we can’t clean our lives up. Any positive spiritual work in our lives comes through external means. It comes from outside of us.

This means that, just as the Israelites demonstrated, before we can ever attempt to win any significant victory, we have to make God a priority in our lives. There is no other way. Maybe today you’ve been trying to solve some of your own problems? Why not shift tactics? Instead of focusing on the problem, fix your eyes on the answer, and recalibrate your life to Him.