By Toni Ford
I believe it is safe to say that we have all experienced both defeat and victory at some point in our lives. If that is true, then how do we keep from staying in an attitude of defeat and how do we turn our mistakes into a victory? Henry Ford once defined a mistake as, “an opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”
Joshua is a great example of taking a (previous defeat and turning the next opportunity into a victory) past mistake and defeat, learning from it and turning the next opportunity into a victory. In Joshua Chapter 7, Joshua sends some of his men to spy out the town of Ai, with the intention of taking over the city. His men come back to tell Joshua that “there is no need to take all our men. We can conquer this town with a small portion of our men.” However, Joshua 7:4 says, “but they were soundly defeated.” Then, in Joshua Chapter 8, you see where Joshua goes back to the town of Ai. This time, instead of being the ones defeated, he and the Israelites defeat Ai and become the victors.
Between the first and second battles, however, there are several lesson Joshua had to learn in order to turn his previous defeat into a victory the next time around. Here are just a few of the lessons Joshua learned.
Get Up. In Joshua Chapter 7, verses 10 and 13, God tells Joshua again to “Get up!” Scripture tells us in Joshua 7:6 that “Joshua and the elders tore their clothes in dismay, threw dust on their heads and bowed face down to the ground before the Ark of the Lord until evening.” After the first battle, Joshua was shocked, devastated and fearful, and so he was face down crying out to the Lord. Although this sounds as if this would be the correct response, the Lord instead told Joshua twice (verses 10 and 13) to “Get up!” The Lord wanted Joshua to “Get up” and deal with the sin that was in the camp, which was the real reason for their defeat.
Trust the Words of the Lord. “Then the Lord told Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I have given you the king of Ai, his people, his town and his land.’” Our Lord is trustworthy so we can trust Him and His Word!
Reassess the Plan. Joshua Chapter 8 tells us Joshua came up with a new and better plan, a plan that was designed by God and not Joshua alone.
Return to Worship. I love how Joshua 8: 30-35 describes how Joshua and the people of Israel worshipped God after their victory over Ai. Their worship involved building an altar and making an offering to God. They then stood together while Joshua read aloud the Word of God!
Presenting ourselves back to God as an offering and reading aloud His Word is honoring to Him!
It is the Lord’s heart to turn our defeat into victory; however, our part is to “Get up” and evaluate our own hearts and homes and see if there is any “sin in the camp” that needs to be dealt with before we immediately start crying out to the Lord for help.
It is also our responsibility to trust the words of our Lord. Remember that faith is believing in what is not seen. We need to reassess our plans and make sure they are God’s plans and not our own. Most importantly, we then need to return to worship and but must take some steps action on our part. The greatest news is that no matter how defeated we may fill at times, our Lord Jesus Christ has taken care of the greatest defeat – Satan – himself, and has given us the ultimate victory in salvation and eternity with our Lord!