104-109-Joshua Chapter 8
When failing to accomplish what we have previously set out to do it is often to get ourselves composed and get back on the right track. If we are in the will of God then He will encourage us and we must trust what He says for us to do. Israel had stumbled through the sin of Achan but they had dealt with the sin in their midst and now was the time to move on. The past is a lesson for us to learn from and make better decisions from. When sin is the problem then repentance is the correct answer. With repentance and humility of self we can move forward to what God has for us. God will use are failures of the past as a foundation for our future endeavors and by our obedience to God’s way we will gain the victory.
God was not despondent neither was He unwilling to work through His people. If God is leading us, as He was Israel, and set our minds to gaining the victory that God will give as God is always faithful towards His people.
After God had received His first fruits from Jericho the Israelites are allowed to keep the spoils from the City of Ai. How foolish it seems now that Achan robbed God knowing now that if he had waited he would have gained his heart’s desire in abundance. God requires the first fruits of our efforts and the rest are ours as a reward for our trust in Him. We are to wait upon the Lord.
The Lord gives Joshua the plan for defeating the City of Ai. They are to ambush the city from behind. The Lord always has the perfect plan and the wise will follow God’s way.
This time under the direction of the Lord Joshua sends 30,000 men, not just three thousand as before under his own initiative. When doing the Lord’s work it is always best to use all the resources that He has made available to us. We should always follow His instruction according to His plan that His purpose will be done. This assures us that we will accomplish His will and He will give us the victory. God had given Joshua the general plan but left it to Joshua to carry out the plan using the experience that he had gained from past battles for the Lord.
With the order of battle given to his men of war, and the specifics addressed to the timing that would be needed to coordinate the two groups, the ambushing army and the fleeing army of people, Joshua spent the night among the people. It was important for the leader of the people to be near, that they would see that he was with them.
If we are to gain victory or regain victory from lost battles, then we must live and follow Jesus. For He knows the end from the beginning and will lead us the way through our trials and tribulations. In the good times as well as the crucial times in our life Jesus is always near to us in our Christian walk. Jesus never pushes us but leads us into battle in our spiritual warfare.
Israel must be on the offensive and the people of war drew near to the City of Ai. The Israelites did not want the people of Ai to bring the battle to them they wanted to bring the battle to Ai.
Often we see the battle against sin as what we should not do. As Christians in our walk with the Lord we must be on the offensive against the evil forces of darkness and temptation. Instead of thinking about what we should not be doing we must think about what the Lord would have us do.
As God had said the king of Ai and his army used the same strategy as before and went out in the morning to face Israel. Often Satan when using an effective strategy against us and will keep using it until it fails. If we have been defeated by Satan then we can plan a strategy based upon what Satan has showed us before.
As God had directed the people of Israel fled before the advancing army of Ai into the wilderness. Our God is an infinite God and His plan to defeat Satan in our lives is of infinite diversity of strategy. Each strategy of God is uniquely planned for our personal need as God is a personal God.
We must remember that Israel was taking the land that was promised to their Fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That Israel was exacting judgment upon the Canaanites who were ripe for God’s judgment because of their wickedness. The victory for Israel was complete and the judgment of God was complete. This was because of God’s faithfulness to the Israelite people and their faithfulness to God. If Israel is to regain victory, then they can show no mercy to the enemies of God. They must destroy their enemies completely.
The keys to gaining victory through God can be seen in these bullet points:
- Be encouraged.
- Obeying the Lord’s plan.
- Use every best resource available.
- Live and follow Jesus.
- Always be on the offensive.
- Show no mercy to the enemy.
So far in this Book of Joshua we have seen by Israel’s experience an illustration of their whole history. It is also an illustration of the spiritual history of the Christian walk.
- Victory follows obedience to God’s Word.
- Victory is followed by God’s blessing.
- Blessing is often followed by pride and disobedience.
- Disobediences is followed by defeat.
- Defeat is followed by judgment.
- Judgment is followed by repentance.
- Repentance is followed by obedience.
- Obedience is followed by victory.
- For many this cycle continues.
Joshua built an altar in accordance to the Law of Moses. (Exodus 20:24-26) This was to express their thankfulness to God that He had given them the victory aver Ai. There at Mount Ebal they offered burnt offerings unto the Lord. This was done according to the Law of the peace offering. This was an appropriate act of worship to the Lord by the Israelite people as a consecration unto the God following the great victory over Ai. God should and deserves that glory for all of our victories. The stones were to be uncut and no iron tool was to be used to create manmade design upon it. This was so when people looked at the altar no attention could be given to what man has done but all attention to what God has done. Too often men boast on their efforts forgetting that all of men’s achievements come from the providence of God.
We see here the value of a good leader, a man of law. Joshua was a man of the Law of Moses obeyed the command given him in Joshua 1:8. We also see Israel as a nation of the Law of Moses ordering their lives according to God’s Word. This was not a convenient thing for the Israelite people to do. The distance from Ai to Ebal and Gerizim was 20 to 25 miles. A long distance to move all the tribes of Israel.
It was important for the Israelite nation to perform this sacrifice between the Mounts of Ebal and Mount Gerizim. The area is a natural amphitheater and made possible for all the nation to hear the reading of the Law of Moses. The Israelites and the people that were with them who came out of Egypt with them.
This act was done according to the words written in Deuteronomy 27:1-26. The altar was built on the Mountain of cursing. At the point of our sin we need a covering sacrifice at the point where are sins are revealed and God has pronounced the curse upon our sin.
Israel now controlled the middle of Canaan and the highlands. Conquering the rest of Canaan is a matter of taking advantage of this strategic location.