In regards to doing great things for God, I think that one of the reasons that we don’t see God doing the great works that He did of old is not that He’s changed or not that He’s silent, but that we really don’t believe we need him.
At what time in the world’s history has there been a culture with such prosperity as that of the United States. Now, I’m sure there has been comparative prosperity at different times, but at what time has the poor among us had so much– so much that they would rather remain jobless than find a job!
Jericho, The Strategic Plan
This type of situation plays itself out in the time of Joshua right after they cross the Jordan River. Their first stop was Jericho– a city with high walls ready for battle. Spies that were sent into the city returned reports of high walls, good defenses, and yet, at the same time, a fear of the Israelites and their God. The Israelites knew two things:
- This would be a difficult battle, and they could lose.
- God had commanded them to fight and promised to be with them.
Had they been a church in modern America, they would have sat down and come up with a strategic plan– conducting surveys amongst the people to find the best way to approach Jericho. I’m certain that I could see one of the questions now:
- The best way for us to attack Jericho is through a war of attrition cutting them off from food and water for a given period of time: Strongly Agree, Agree, Undecided, Disagree, Strongly Disagree
After the survey they would have come up with a plan that a majority of the people agreed with, and then asked God to bless it before carrying it out. Of course this is not what happened. They prayed, God instructed, and they were victorious in a way that God got the glory.
Ai is Where Our Churches Are
So, they had a victory and they head off to Ai, not even realizing that someone has sinned (Achan) back at Jericho, and they don’t bother to check with God about Ai– it’s a weak city after all– and so they send some people and get roundly beaten. Then they go to God.
This is what our churches do. Maybe God has blessed or shown Himself mightily in times past. Maybe you’ve come off a spiritual high. Or maybe you wish to do something for Him, but you don’t bother to go to prayer and seek Him. Then, you charge forward only to find that whatever it is you meant to do for Him falls flat. And you wonder why. (And worse, you make God look inadequate.)
It’s because churches today think that just because we’re going to go do something for God that that is enough. He should bless anything we attempt to do in His name because we believe it’s for Him. Only it doesn’t work this way.
God is not stationary, waiting for His people to decide they want to do something and then acting. God is active right now. He’s active in bringing people to Himself. He’s actively attempting to build a relationship with you. He wants you to join Him in what He is already doing in a way that will bring Him glory, but He’s willing to be patient until He has our attention and we seek Him rather than seeking to do something for Him.
When the people sought God out about Ai, He told them where the problem was, what they had to do, and then gave them the victory. How about you? How about your church? Which way are you trying to do things? When was the last time God did something “God-Sized” through you or your church?
If these are hard questions, perhaps it’s time to get into the Word and see if what I’m saying rings true, and then seek out what He is doing and join Him.