What Are You Doing on Your Face?

God warned Joshua and Joshua warned the people the morning Jericho was to fall: “Keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it” (Joshua 6:18). The command was disregarded: “But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things…Achan took some of them…So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel” (7:1). In their next battle, against a weaker foe, Israel was routed (7:5). So Joshua goes to the Lord: “Ah, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us…What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? The Canaanites…will hear about this…and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?” (7:7-9).

God’s people were in mini-meltdown. They didn’t understand why God would permit such a loss. The Lord’s reply to Joshua is classic: “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?” (7:10)

Instead of looking at themselves first; Israel’s default mode was to blame God: “Why did you do that God?” When in fact, God had explicitly told them what would happen if they disobeyed—destruction and trouble would come. And this is why God orders Joshua off his face. Joshua need not inquire. He already knew; some honest reflection would have explained.

We are often quick to blame God when our first response should be self-inventory. Instead of whining to God about our situation; perhaps our situation is a consequence. That is, we don’t have any money because we frivolously spend it; there is no communication in our marriage because we never talk; our kids are silent because we don’t listen; we don’t have friends because we aren’t one to anyone else; and so on.

I suspect there are times God could ask each of us: “What are you doing on your face?” Doing so because there is no need for God to answer the reason behind our woe; for He already has—our current trouble a direct result of disobedience. It is good to seek God’s face; but there are times we don’t need to be on ours—the reason being that some introspection will readily reveal what is behind our trouble. We didn’t listen to what He has told us already.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
January 10, 2013

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