Pastoral Commentary for Joshua 8:1-29
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
Have you ever prayed to God telling Him how to resolve the issues you were facing in your life? In this passage God does the opposite. God gives the plan to Joshua and tells him exactly when and how to execute it so that the Israelites would be victorious. As I write these words I'm sitting by the bedside of my 81 year old father-in-law who is suffering greatly with stage 4 cancer throughout his body. In the last ten days I've prayed repeatedly, trying to tell God how to handle the situation. Thus far, He hasn't seen fit to follow my plans. I recently read a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose life probably did the end the way he would have planned it. He wrote: "God has reserved to Himself the right to determine the end of life, because He alone knows the goal to which it is His will to lead it. It is for Him alone to justify a life or to cast it away." God told Joshua how to end the lives of the wicked people of the town of Ai, in an ambush that God planned for Joshua to carry out, telling him: "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Previously the men of Ai had routed the men of Israel because of Achan's sin. But God told Joshua not to let this turn of events discourage him. Rather, after setting the ambush as God had told him, God commanded Joshua to raise his javelin and God's plan was executed perfectly, at precisely the right moment. Victory was the result, and plunder came to Israel, as wicked men were judged by God at the hand of Joshua and the men of Israel. We need to learn to trust God's plans.