Reminders – Ai
Last week we looked at Artificial Intelligence, and how dangerous it could be. But a bigger, more subtle danger threatens us from within. It is our flesh and the secret sin it produces. Paul tells us, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing.” Romans 7:18a A good example is from the Book of Joshua and ironically, it involves a town called Ai. Israel had just spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness because of their unbelief. Now, as they entered the promised land under the direction of God and the leadership of Joshua, the great walls of Jericho fell. This happened by God’s power as they obeyed His command to surround the city and shout. The shout wasn’t the power that laid the walls flat. The obedience to shout was. But then, on the heels of this great victory at Jericho, a great defeat occurred at the town of Ai. Why?
One man out of thousands in Israel, kept for himself some of the captured treasure of Jericho, instead of putting it in the Lord’s treasury as commanded. Then, he tried to hide his sin. This little un-confessed disobedience affected the whole nation of Israel, and caused Joshua to depend on his flesh, instead of going to God to ask for direction. He relied on his position of leadership, acting apart from God, to defeat the small enemy at Ai. Instead, a comparatively insignificant army chased away the army of Israel and handed them a humiliating defeat. At first, Joshua blamed God for what happened. Then, God revealed to him that the reason for the defeat was the hidden sin of Achan. Achan was identified as the thief, confessed his sin, returned the stolen booty, and was put to death. God then revealed His will to Joshua, and the town of Ai was defeated and captured.
Sin that we try to hide from others, that remains un-confessed, causes us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. This produces confidence in our flesh, which then likes to put on a show of doing “Christian” things for God. Thus, our ministry becomes ineffective and self-exalting. Though our works may look “Christian,” God is not glorified in them because they’re not His works but ours. They are the “way of Cain,” Jude 1:11 called, the works of the flesh that can only produce “wood, hay, and stubble.” God doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. He wants empty vessels that He can use to display His power and glory, which will then produce “gold, silver, and precious stones.” 1 Corinthians 3:12; 2 Corinthians 4:7
Final Thoughts. David in Psalm 139 said, “Search me O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 We need to do the same. Ask God to reveal any sins in our lives, so that they can be confessed, and we can again hear His voice clearly to do His will. Don’t devise your own ways to defeat Ai. Walk in fellowship with God and watch Him do it. Galatians 5:16-17