I’ve heard something before that goes a little like this: The wrong plan at the right time is the wrong plan; the right plan at the wrong time is still the wrong plan. Does that make sense? Timing is everything. Even if you have a million dollar idea, if you try to implement it into the wrong market, at the wrong time, that million dollar idea will never take off.
Maybe you’ve heard the story, the details are a little faint in my head, but as I remember (and just Googled), James Cameron wrote the movie Avatar many years before the technology was available to film it. If he had tried to go ahead with making the movie with the technology available at that time (right idea, wrong time) it most likely would not have been one of the highest grossing movies of all time. However, he was patient and waited, and the movie did better than he probably ever guessed when he first wrote it (right idea, right time).
This brings us to the passage today:
“The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take the whole military force with you and go attack Ai. Look, I have handed over to you the king of Ai, his people, city, and land” (Joshua 8:1)
This verse comes in Joshua chapter 8, after a pretty rough chapter 7. There was this guy named Achan who had done something wrong. He did something he knew he wasn’t supposed to do, and knew the consequences of what he was choosing to do, yet he did it anyway. How often is this our story? Probably too often.
Achan made a bad choice and both him and his entire family and all his livestock and possessions paid the price for it. Not only did they pay for it, but the whole nation of Israel paid for it as well. They went to do battle with this city, Ai, early in chapter 7. They sent about 3,000 soldiers to go defeat the small Ai, but Ai routed Israel and killed 36 men. Verses 11 and 12 of chapter 7 say, “Israel has sinned… This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies… I will no longer be with you unless you remove from you what is set apart.” So, because of Achan’s sin, his entire family paid, and 36 men from Israel were killed.
The Israelites had tried to move on before dealing with the sin problem, but after the Achan problem is taken care of, God then tells Joshua to go and attack the city Ai again because God is with them and will grant them the victory. The timing mattered. The timing was everything. Before turning from sin, they failed; after repenting and turning from sin, they were victorious and blessed.
I think the message is pretty clear here for us. We need to turn from the sins we are living in, those “minor” sins that cause distraction and ineffectiveness in our relationship with Christ; those small sins, like white lies, that really prevent us from experiencing the fullness of life that Jesus promised (John 10:10).
So, turn from sin and turn toward Jesus Christ. This is really the best and only way to live a life free from fear.