If This Happens, You will Lose Battles You Shouldn’t Lose

Some battles we face this side of eternity are often overtaxing and unpredictable. We have often positioned ourselves inch by inch against our enemies and lost. Other times we have gained a massive win in seemingly insurmountable duels. Typically, we expect a lose or win or a draw in most wars. 

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But there are some battles we engage in with our pride at the pinnacle, warming up for a celebration. Think of yourself competing with William Shakespeare in giving a public lecture on his play, ‘Romeo and Juliet’? Think of yourself trying to outsmart Jim McClintock on the mic to try basso profundo. What about when an average army enlists against the US Marine or the leathernecks? Or think of a football match between FC Barcelona with your local primary school soccer team. In all these scenarios, we can, with reasonable accuracy, predict who will win. If any of our favourites to win the respective duels loses, it will be a great surprise.

There are battles we are not supposed to lose. We are supposed to be comfortable in them as comfortable as we can shout our own names. We are not supposed to lose them. How do you fail to recite the Alphabet of your native language? How do you fail to lie flat on your bed with zero health issues? How do you fail to lift a feather with a finger? 

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However, there are some things which, if you do, you will lose battles you should win. This is the heart of the matter here. We have failed in places we were not supposed to fail because we made these fatal mistakes. All failures in various aspects of life are usually guilty of this one great mistake. Here is our case study: 

And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai, and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.  And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.[Joshua 7:2-5] 

The discomfiture by the people of  Ai followed the conquest of Jericho, a fortified city and the citadel of the promised land. Jericho was apparently invincible. There was no way the Israelites could penetrate the thick elevated walls of Jericho without a supernatural manifestation of God’s power. They did it under the command of the Captain of God’s army, Christ Himself. The conquest of Jericho gave them the needful confidence to face the rest of the tribes they were to dispossess of the land of Canaan. 

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Their first attempt to actively participate in a battle was a  terrible mess. They lost a war against the little town of Ai because of two main reasons:

  1. Overconfidence

Jericho was the big fish of the tribes across Jordan. They underestimated the power of Ai and took a handful of soldiers to bring them a quick victory as they prepare for more severe wars ahead. To their surprise, they sustained serious wounds and casualties that made people’s heart melt and become like water. This was very dangerous for such a great multitude as they had battles ahead of them. If Ai, a little Town, had knocked them cold, what about the Jebusites and the other bigger cities they were yet to meet ahead of them? 

The lesson here is not to underestimate your enemies at any time. Fight all your battles as if you are facing the finals. Don’t make the mistake of assuming a finger will lift it. Better use both arms to lift a stick than to fail by overconfidence. 

Most ill-educated Christians make such mistakes when facing Satan. They represent him as some funny creature with several deformed organs, forgetting he is a mighty but fallen angel with all his powers intact but character debased and efforts redirected towards folly and destruction. Here is a lesson we must carry as we face the enemy of man and God:

The conflict will be long and painful. At times there may appear to be a partial defeat; but bear in mind that you counted the cost when Christ showed you the plan of the battle. You are not the leaders in this conflict, for Christ is there; the armies of heaven are enlisted in the warfare. Jesus would have every individual understand that the confederacy of evil is strong, artful in planning, and will use every dishonest measure in order to obtain the victory.”

—Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894), par. 14
  1. Sin in the Camp

Sin in the camp is the other side that messed up the army of the Israelites. A strict warning had been given concerning the spoils of Jericho—no one was to take anything there as spoil. That which could not be destroyed by fire, like the silver, the gold, and brass and iron vessels, was to be devoted to the service of the tabernacle. Against this great warning, an Israelite, Achan, went ahead and took a “beautiful Babylonian garment, 200 shekels of silver, and 50 shekels of gold” Here is what the Bible say: 

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.[Joshua 7:1]

Achan did, against warning, but the entire congregation was held guilty hence the defeat by the little town of Ai. I understand the value of gold and silver, but I wonder how beautiful that Babylonian garment that made Achan go against the revealed will of God was. Achan caused the wrath of God against the entire Nation and brought terrible loss and discouragement.  

In the same manner, modern Achans have brought the wrath of God upon families, churches, ministries, Nations, et cetera because of modern Babylonian garments.  More than ever before, Satan is making modern Babylonian garments dazzling and irresistible. Direct warnings of God are being defied, resulting in increasing human failure, a succession of falls, and losses in battles we should not lose. But if we continue in defiance, we will continue reaping the fruits of such moves.

“Achan’s sin brought disaster upon the whole nation. For one man’s sin the displeasure of God will rest upon His church till the transgression is searched out and put away. The influence most to be feared by the church is not that of open opposers, infidels, and blasphemers, but of inconsistent professors of Christ. These are the ones that keep back the blessing of the God of Israel and bring weakness upon His people. When the church is in difficulty, when coldness and spiritual declension exist, giving occasion for the enemies of God to triumph, then, instead of folding their hands and lamenting their unhappy state, let its members inquire if there is not an Achan in the camp. With humiliation and searching of heart, let each seek to discover the hidden sins that shut out God’s presence.”

—Patriarchs and Prophets p. 497

As long as Achans exists, there will be failures on grounds upon which we should win. It is crucial to soul search and see if we have any traits of Achan in ourselves because God cannot work with and for us until we stone the son of Carmi to death.

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