Open Heaven Daily Devotional: Wednesday, 28th April 2021 – The Agony Of Defeated Champions
MEMORISE: Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. – John 5:1-5
READ: Joshua 7:1-5 (KJV)
1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.
3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.
4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.
5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.
It is painful enough to be defeated in one round of contest, but even more so if one becomes an ex-champion, surrendering a crown totally. This is because as soon as a fellow emerges as a champion, people’s expectations of him or her would have increased. The attention of so many people – enemies inclusive, would be on the person. Thus, a champion has more enemies than ordinary contender. I pray that you will not be an ex-champion in the mighty name of Jesus.
The story in today’s Scripture reading is a sad one. The people of God had just recorded a victory over the great city of Jericho and were going to occupy a small village called Ai. To their surprise, they were utterly defeated. Their leader Joshua was downcast but he understood the reason for the defeat after he enquired from God. There is a lesson from this event: it is that there is always a reason for every setback a child of God suffers. Therefore, it is very important for children of God to carry out periodic self-examinations. James 1:13-15 says:
“13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
God warned the Israelites not to take anything from Jericho after its destruction. Achan however defied the instruction; he stole part of the accursed materials. This singular act of disobedience turned the entire nation to ex-war champions, and they remained so until the accused things, the thief and his household were removed from the congregation of the people of God.
Beloved, you must abstain from ungodliness because it is deadly. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death·” Once you are forgiven, you have to forsake sin and then restitute your ways. Jesus Christ told the man He graciously healed in John 5:14 to go and sin no more, so that something even more terrible would not befall him. As you go out today, examine yourself and see if you are standing right with God (2 Corinthians 13:5). May the Lord grant you victory always.
Holy Spirit, please help me to be vigilant in maintaining my victory in Christ. Help me Lord, so I do not fall into any temptation.
In Christ Alone
1. In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
2. In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.
3. There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
4. No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: Joshua 9-10