This is my first letter to you in the New Year. PLEASE READ IT VERY, VERY CAREFULLY! I have sought the Lord for more than half the month of January before I could write this Letter of Exhortation. Thus, I believe it is a crucial word for the members of the Body of Christ. I am especially anxious for all of you young people who receive these letters to hear what the Lord is saying in this day. 1983 is a crucial and vital year in the plan of God, make no mistake about it! SO PLEASE READ ON!

Proverbs 30:7-8, “Two things I ask of You, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.”

When the Lord was giving instructions to Joshua about how to capture Jericho, He said a very unusual thing. The Lord had just stopped the supply of manna, that sustaining food which carried the Israelites through the entire wilderness journey. Now, they had begun to taste and enjoy the produce of the land. The Lord said to Joshua, “I am giving the city (Jericho) to you. The city and all that is in it are to be DEVOTED to the Lord.” (Joshua 6:17 NIV). And then god said to the Israelites, “Keep away from the DEVOTED THINGS, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel LIABLE TO DESTRUCTION and bring disaster on it.” You have to understand, that phrase, “DEVOTED THINGS”, refers to the totally giving over of things (or persons) to the Lord – often by totally destroying them!

After burning and destroying everything in the city of Jericho, Joshua moved the people on further westward towards the next city to be captured – Ai. He sent spies ahead to search out the region of Ai, just as he had with the city of Jericho. They returned with great confidence, telling Joshua, “Don’t send many men; only two or three thousand men can do it. Don’t bother the people. They don’t all need to go up against Ai.”

THEY WERE ROUTED! The people of God suffered a tremendous defeat at the hands of the king of Ai. “Where were You, God,”  they cried. Joshua fell on his face and stayed there all day long, crying out, “Where were You, Lord?”

And then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stand on your feet! What are you doing there on your face upon the ground? Israel has sinned! They have violated My covenant! They have taken some of the DEVOTED THINGS and put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They turn and run because they have been made liable to destruction.

From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 28, January/February 1983.