Joshua 8 (KJV)
1 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.
3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night.
4 And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready:
5 And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them,
6 (For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them.
7 Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand.
8 And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the Lord shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.
9 Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people.
10 And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
11 And all the people, even the people of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai.
12 And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
13 And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
14 And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city.
15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
16 And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city.
17 And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.
18 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.
19 And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.
20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers.
21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai.
22 And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
23 And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.
24 And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
25 And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.
26 For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
27 Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua.
28 And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.
29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.
30 Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal,
31 As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.
32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.
35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.
Can you imagine the talk that was going on in the Israel camp when Joshua told them that they were going back to Ai? The men of war ran for their lives and were defeated because of one man’s failure to obey the command of the Lord which caused them to lose the battle against Ai. Can you hear them saying as usual Joshua you must be kidding – you said that we were going to win the last war but look what happened? You may be one of those that hold onto past failure and the defeat of the past and can’t see past error/sin. However, when God issues a command, we must follow even when we do not comprehend. Understand making up for past failures is not always easy. We know that with God all things are possible. Just obey the orders and the commands of the Lord. Learn from your mistakes and the past failures. We learn so much from our mistakes that we gain wisdom. Know one thing that when God decrees a thing it should be established. Nothing my any means can stop the plan of God that He has established for His people from the beginning of time. Know with God you can make up for past failures when God is with you and has gone before you. You may have messed up with your marriage, finances, job or whatever it may be; know with God nothing has to be left in the failure state if you seek Him and allow Him to lead and guide you into all truth. All things work out for our good (Romans 8:28).
Job 22:28 (KJV)
28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.
Isaiah 46:10 (KJV)
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Psalm 33: (KJV)
11 The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
One of the most amazing qualities that are in the heirs and joint heirs of Christ is that failure is not an option. We will try again in spite of our insecurities. Go back to prayer and hear what the Lord had already spoken concerning the matter.
Our ultimate desire is to please God and to depend on Him for all things but come to know that when we fall; we do try again. God teaches Joshua a powerful principle for the children of Israel on how to gain territory that was already there despite the defeat of the first battle.
And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
Follow the plan that God has put before you and obey:
- Deal with your fear and discouragement – God told them not to fear and not to be discouraged. We must bind our minds to the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5)
- Can you imagine the fear and discouragement that fell on the camp after they have seen the result of sin (the death of Achan and his family)?
- Do it God’s way:
- Take all the people of war with you. (Do not leave anyone out).
- Know that your mind will begin to talk to you – you must pull down the thoughts and do it God’s way. Cast down imaginations and high things (II Corinthians 10:5).
- Know the God we serve is strategic and detailed.
God took them back to the place of defeat so that he would restore in them the confidence to finish the assignment to conquer all of Canaan. Understand you can’t stop at past defeats because what God has for you and if you stop you will never achieve what he has stored up for you before the foundations of the earth. God does have a plan and purpose for your life, and he will bring you back to that place of disappointment and have you conquer your fear so you can move on. You may have felt like you cannot move on, but I command you to get up from that place of fear and discouragement and speak to yourself what God has said about you. You can and will move on. No matter what ones defeats may be; know that if we depend on and trust in God we will have and experience great triumphs for the Kingdom of God. You have the power and authority to take out the enemy that was vexing your victory. Know that they recovered and came out with substance this time. As we experience great triumphs of God, remember to mark the place with an altar reminding you and the world what God has done for you. Stop and take the time to worship God at Ebal. Mount Ebal the place that reminded the Israelites and others the curse that will come upon you if you do not heed to the blessings of the Lord. Obedience is always better than sacrifice. Have a place that will remind you that without God you can do nothing.
Deuteronomy 27:2-5 (KJV)
2 And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister:
3 And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee.
4 Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaister them with plaister.
5 And there shalt thou build an altar unto the Lord thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them.
Father in the name of Jesus Christ, I thank you that you always cause me to triumph. Father, you give me the strength and the courage that when I fall your Word continues to speak to me and remind me who I am in you. Thank you for not leaving me or forsaking me. You cause me to arise and to move forward. Thank you that your plans for my life are yes and amen. Teach me to know your will and to trust you with my whole heart and not to deviate from your plan and purpose for my life. Keep me and continue to lead me in Jesus name I pray, Amen!