When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” Joshua 7:3
At Jericho, the Israelites knew they needed God’s supernatural power to bring down the walls but at Ai, they thought a small army would suffice. They suffered a massive defeat. Not only were they undermanned but they were also unaware of Achan’s sin. When Joshua ultimately conquered Ai he took the whole army with him as God directed (8:1).
When we experience a victory in our Christian life it’s easy to think that it was due, in some part, to our own skill and competence. At Jericho, the Israelites may have appreciated God’s help but didn’t fully acknowledge their reliance on him. It wasn’t until they were crushed at Ai, that they realised the full extent of their dependency on God.
When we are called to lead worship, teach a Bible study group, preach a sermon, write a devotional article or any God directed task, we would do well to acknowledge our dependency on God, even if we have done the task a hundred times. Our familiarity with a task doesn’t mean competency.
Sometimes God allows disappointment and disillusionment to humble us so we will acknowledge our inadequacy and accept his help. This isn’t easy to do in a world that values self-sufficiency. We go against the wisdom of the world when we choose to rely on God’s grace rather than our own abilities.
After a spiritual victory are we like Paul who said: “We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace” (2 Corinthians 1:12)?