Picture this, an army of thousands of people. They have just crossed a river into the land which they are coming to invade. Everyone is eager and confident in their new leader. They come to the mighty walled city of their enemies with weapons in hand… and then… they start to walk circles around it. This is not exactly inspiring. I can imagine the people of Israel thinking this on the first day, by the time they finished the week out, I think that they might have had some second thought about their new battle strategy. Walking in circles doesn’t really make that much sense. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel like I am walking in circles in life. We may feel as though we are in the right place, we may feel as though God wants us to do something in particular, but at the same time, it seems incredibly pointless. Sometimes we start to think that there are even better ways to do things, and we even start to think, “Well God, why didn’t we just do things my way instead of taking the long and impossible road that you wanted to take.” I am sure this is what the Israelites were thinking. In fact, even when the walls fell down miraculously, they were still thinking this. How do I know this, because in the very next chapter after just one decides he is going to do things his way, they march up to a city, lay siege to it, bring all their soldiers and might to bear on it in a far more traditional battle style. While the second time they use a much more conventional style of warfare, they suffer a tremendous defeat. A disaster that was born because one man decided that God’s plans could be use a little human ingenuity.
Sometimes God’s ways don’t seem to make much sense. It can feel like we are walking in circles, and we are often good at coming up with alternatives to God’s ways. It is often times the case, that doing what the world does is easier, more convenient, or makes sense, or simply because its what we want. This is often the excuse you hear more than any other when unmarried people start living together. “Its just easier.” People often say. Well, God’s way might not be the easiest way. In fact, it will often be the most difficult way, but it will always be the best way in the end. God gives us a lot of guidance on how to live in this world that He has placed us in. He tells us how to best live in our day to day lives from sex, to relationship, to personal integrity, to how to treat others, and on and on it goes. At first glance, God’s ways can sometimes seem nonsensical. I am sure that’s what Achan thought when he saw all of those treasures that God had called evil. First He had them march around this city, then He wanted them to destroy what they found there. Yet, the moment that Achan strayed off the path, disaster was upon everyone. Not only did Achan’s sin cause him to suffer, but it caused many people to die. Now, it is not usually the case that our sins and misjudgments will cause others to die, but our sin does have a great effect on us and on those around us. God wanted to give His people the land of Israel, but God wanted that to happen in His way, because His way is always the best way, even if, to us, it seems as if He is walking us around in circles. When we stray off God’s path and decide to do things our way, trouble is right around the corner. It is important for us to recognize that God has our best in mind more than we do. If we remember that in our everyday lives, we will walk off the battlefield in victory instead of crushing defeat. You have never failed when you have trusted your lives completely to God’s ways.