Being Focussed on God

When we say that we want to be focussed on God, it can sound really easy. In truth, this doesn’t seem very hard to do, but whenever we try it we discover that it is not as easy as it seems. Why is this?

Well, let's be honest, it is not God that makes it hard; that blame rests entirely on us. We could blame the devil for it, and I am sure that he has his hand in it, but more often than not, it is entirely our doing. This is not a problem that you alone are battling with; this is a problem that has been fought by all people seeking God throughout the ages.

Let's look at Joshua to see some of the problems he went through. Joshua was the successor of Moses. Joshua was the man who made a remarkable statement to the Israelites when they entered the Promised Land:

“And if it seems evil for you to serve the Lord, choose for yourself this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

(Joshua 24:15).

You see Joshua was a leader of men and a man of God. But he still had the same problems as you and I. Lets read about some of the problems he had. A good place to start is immediately after Joshua fought the battle of Jericho. This was a fabulous victory, which was only made possible because they followed God’s command. However, there is something very strange going on here. The passage of scripture dealing with the battle of Jericho ends on a high as follows:

So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.

(Joshua 6:27)

However, the very next passage of scripture that starts to talk about the battle for Ai tells a completely different story:

But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi; the son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah, took the accursed things; so the anger of God burned against the children of Israel.

(Joshua 7:1)

Something had gone wrong which perhaps Joshua should have been aware of if he had been spending time with God. However, you can see that he was more active in doing what God had told him to do:

On this side of the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses began to explain this law saying, “The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighbouring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far up as the great river, the river Euphrates. See, I have set the and before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers…’”

(Deuteronomy 1:5-8)

He was carrying out the plan of God as he saw it. Possibly he was on a high from the victory in Jericho and just carried on doing what he knew needed to be done. As Joshua was about to find out, doing it right once, doesn’t mean that we know how to do it again; and it certainly doesn’t mean that we can do it without God’s involvement. This is as true for us today as it was for him. Doing God’s will our way is not doing God’s will at all; it is just doing our will.

As we read on you can see that things are not quite going to plan.

Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them saying, "Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai struck down thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water. Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord God, why have your brought this people over the Jordan at all – to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?”

(Joshua 7:2-9)

When I read this, I am quite shocked at Joshua’s response to the situation. He is acing just like the Israelites did when they complained against Moses. In many ways, he was acting the same as you and I when things go wrong; whom can I blame for this? Seldom do we ask what have I done wrong; we would rather be able to blame someone else. But look at the way God deals with this:

So the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. Therefore, the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore unless you destroy the accursed from among you.

(Joshua 7:10-12)

God is not mincing His words here, and there are some things to be aware of that will affect us if we make the same mistake as the Israelites If we break His covenant:

We cannot stand before our enemies, we are doomed to destruction and we are separated from God.