"So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel of the LORD."
Just as the Israelites decided to attack Ai without consulting the LORD, they did the same thing again. Ai was a small town, and these foreigners had apparently traveled a long distance; just look at their provisions. Joshua and the leaders of Israel believed what they saw, even though it was a deception, and never inquired of God what He would have them do. How easy is it to believe what our eyes see?
I fear I do this way too often. I know the enemy is a deceiver, so why do I not take my decisions to the LORD before I make them, rather than after the mistake creates a problem? In 2 Corinthians 2:11 Paul says we are not unaware of the devil's schemes. As one who studies God's Word, I know the devil's nature is to lie. Since I live in a world under his authority (Matthew 4:8-9, John 14:30, 2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 John 5:19), why do I believe what I see and hear without filtering it through God's word and prayerful consideration?
Father, strengthen my spiritual eyes so I may consistently see the devil's schemes and deceptions. Please give me eyes to see my willfulness so that instead of trusting myself, I would come to you first with my decisions.
This passage stirs my emotions and causes me to think.
In the first thirteen verses of chapter 3, the Lord describes all the evil Israel and Judah had done, yet, beginning in verse 14 and again in verse 22, God still cries out, "Return, O faithless children...Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness." In verse 19, the middle of this passage, God says, "And I thought you would call me, My Father, and would not turn from following me." I hear the heartbreak of a loving Father, even though in verse three He expresses His disapproval of the way they refer to Him as Father while prostituting themselves after other gods.
My God and Father, thank You for continuing to cry out to faithless children and sons, like me. I want to be one of those of whom You are not ashamed to be called their God. When I hear Your heartbreak in verse 19, I too want to cry out, "Return, He will heal your faithlessness."
Doesn't this event convict you about your attitude toward money? It does me.
I profess to trust Jesus, the same One who sent Peter fishing to pay the tax. How many fish do you think Peter had cleaned in his life? How often did he find money in their mouth? The same Jesus, who caused a shekel to be in the mouth of a particular fish Peter was to catch, is the One I trust!
Jesus, forgive me for being concerned about money. I know Your promise in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." You made that promise after saying I cannot serve You and money. May my desire to worship and serve You override any anxiousness I have about the needs of my life.