Now it happened, when the king of Ai saw it, that the men of the city hurried and rose early and went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at an appointed place before the plain. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city.
And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
I had an important appointment on Tuesday, and drove 76 miles to be there only to discover that I was an hour late and missed the entire event. The appointed place was right, but the time was not.
Both these elements — time and place — are essential to our natural lives, but in our spiritual lives, it is The Lord, dwelling outside the restrictions of time, Who creates the appointed place. All we need do is recognise His presence.
In Joshua, chapter 8 there is a lot for us to consider, but when we come to the mention of ‘the appointed place’ we discover that it represents the pivotal moment in the conflict with the people of Ai (heap of ruins). God has proclaimed the defeat of Ai, not in a straightforward face-to-face conflict, but by the subterfuge of setting up an ambush - drawing the people of Ai out of their city into the wilderness, allowing the Israelites to enter the city unchallenged and destroy it.
The message from this is clear. We must seek the Lord’s guidance in our battles with the enemy. Satan and his minions will always come out of a ruinous place to directly attack and try to destroy Israel (prince of God/God prevails). God will always outsmart satan. We know this to be true. And He will set the appointed place where the battle turns and victory is assured.
‘Meditate On These Things’
After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.
Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.
‘This Is A Holy Place’ — sung by Steph Macleod
A HOLY OCCUPATION: Oswald Chambers on PRAYER
GEORGE and GILL STEWART