Joshua, successor of Moses, led the Israelites into the Promise Land with a successful conquest of Jericho. It was their first battle won with the Lord in command. They brought down the walls of the city not with canyon but trumpets; not with soldiers but priests. Read about it in Joshua 6.
Ai was their next target. It was a small city with few people. So they thought they could win with just a small army. But they were defeated. The reason was because Achan, disobeyed God’s command to destroy everything in Jericho. He coveted n kept some plunder from the battle. Joshua did not know of Achan’s actions. Hence, this is the context/background of Joshua’s actions and prayer:
Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads.
Joshua and the leaders mourned their defeat. They could not understand how they lost the battle of Ai after winning Jericho.
And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!
Joshua did not ask to go back to Egypt. He wished they had just stayed on the other side of Jordan – pre-war days where everything safe and peaceful. He forgot their victory in Jericho and focused on the present defeat.
Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?”
Yet, Joshua’s heart was for the great name of the Lord. He was more concerned of what people, those who in Canaan and nearby places might say about God… that He had allowed His people to be wiped out by their enemies. He asked ‘What then will you do for your great name?’ It is the Lord who will be doing – not him. It is for the Lord’s great name – not his.
Bottom line: It’s all about God and not about me. Whatever that is happening to me, am I thinking about God’s great name? How do I respond to crisis? Do I blame God? Do I remember His goodness in the past and treasure His presence at present?
Do I trust Him to do whatever it takes for His great name? Will I obey Him for the sake of His great name?
Dear Lord, thank you that you are able to accomplish everything for your great name. Empower me to trust and obey you always. Amen.