Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, "Go up and spy out the region." So the men went up and spied out Ai. When they returned to Joshua, they said, "Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there." So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water. 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. And Joshua said, "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? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! O 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?" (Joshua 7:2-9 NIV)
Remember how faithful the Israelites were to do everything precisely the way God commanded before they defeated Jericho? They followed God's commandments to the letter. They were facing the biggest challenge of their lives and they wanted everything to go right. Forty years in the wilderness filled with one miracle after another had convinced them that doing things God's way worked, while other ways didn't.
Then Jericho was defeated, and Joshua and the Israelites went into brain skid. Not far from Jericho was a town called Ai, a small, insignificant dot on the map. Joshua sent in some spies, who reported back that this city would be a piece of cake. Joshua didn't see any sense in sending the whole army for such a little city, so he sent 3,000 men to go take Ai for Israel. He didn't consult God, thinking this was too small a matter to bother Him about. And the result? You guessed it! Israel's army was routed and chased out by the army of Ai, and thirty-six of Israel's men were killed in the process.
God had just spent forty years trying to teach these people to depend on Him for everything -- no matter how small, no matter how insignificant -- to consult Him for each and every move they made. But in their elation at having taken the mighty fortress of Jericho, the people forgot. And it brought them to destruction.
The Lord wants you and me to depend on Him for everything, to consult Him in each and every small and large thing in our lives. If the very hairs on our heads are numbered, if God is aware of the activities of even the sparrows, then can anything be too small for our God? (Matthew 10:29-30) Scripture says that we are to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). If we pray continually, what happens? We are in constant contact with God constant contact -- which means we will be consulting Him in everything -- everything -- in our lives.
The next time you start to plunge ahead with something that seems insignificant, ask yourself, "Is anything too small for God?"
From Newsong Ministries
This Day's Devotional
Used with Permission.