The Bible says in Joshua 7:6-13, “And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name? And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.” Joshua knew that losing to Ai was a very big deal, not just because they lost to a smaller army, but also because it would embolden their other enemies in other cities. It had to do with their reputation. In the age in which we live we call that a Christian testimony. Your testimony to a lost world is extremely important because you cannot be a witness for Christ unless you have a good testimony. Be gracious, be friendly, be honest, be moral and faithful to your vows and your promises and show compassion on others. Guard your testimony and ask the Lord to help you have a good testimony.
The problem was sin: disobeying God and putting material things before the Lord. God made it clear in verse eleven: “Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.”
There was only one solution: clean up their lives by getting rid of the accursed thing. It is not enough to ask for forgiveness. We are also supposed to stop doing what we are doing and live better lives for the Lord. One great difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament is the difference between law and grace. In the Old Testament there was a curse when they sinned. But Christians never are cursed. Christians will be chastised, but they are never cursed because Christ became a curse for us when he was crucified.
The Bible says in Joshua 7:14-19, “In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel. So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken: And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken: And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.” These verses show that God is Judge. Eventually everyone will give an answer to God. God knows and sees everything. No one is going to get away with anything. No wonder that Jesus said there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Pity those who stand before God without a Savior. They will have the same fate as Achan: fire.
The Bible says in Joshua 7:20-26, “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.” One lesson from these verses is that it teaches us one truth about God: God hates sin, and He will punish sin. Sometimes He punishes sin in this life, but always He will punish sin. And since all of us are sinners, we are in big trouble except for one other great truth: God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. Someone had to die and pay the ultimate price for sin. It says in Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”
The Bible says in Joshua 8:1-2, “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: 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.” In verse one God repeated the same thing to Joshua that God had said to Joshua back when Joshua first took over after the death of Moses: “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed.” That is an important Word. We cannot serve the Lord if we fear. Love and faith will leave no place for fear. You can do it, Joshua. You can take on the battle even though you failed in the past. Thankfully, God gives second chances. He knows that we are frail. He knows that we must learn the hard way sometimes. Jesus will forgive us and give us another chance. What a mighty God we serve! The Israelites failed the first time that they went to fight Ai and her king, but now they are ready because they learned their lesson.
The Bible says in Joshua 8:3-8, “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. 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: 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, (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. Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand. 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.” God made a promise to Joshua, and then Joshua made a plan in his own mind. Joshua had a good plan: that was God helping Joshua to think of a good plan. Joshua’s plan worked: that was God blessing Joshua’s plan so that it would work. The Lord does the same types of things all the time in our lives when we are in fellowship with the Lord Jesus.
The Bible says in Joshua 8:9-17, “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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness. 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. 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.” Notice that it says in verse fourteen, “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…” All the people of Ai left the city. That was a very foolish thing to do. Why did they do it? They were overconfident because the last time they had defeated the children of Israel. But God turned the tables. It is an example of Romans 8:28 in action. The fact that Israel lost in its first battle with Ai, but then Good right with God again, God used that first lost to ensure that the Israelites would win the second time. The mysteries of God are unsearchable. He is constantly turning the hearts of men and women according to God’s great plan of salvation to ultimately glorify Christ.
The Bible says in Joshua 8:18-22, “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. 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. 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. 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. 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.” An important thing to notice about this battle is the first thing that is said in verse eighteen, “And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai.” The Lord was leading them. That is one of the secrets to an effective life in the spiritual battle. You are in trouble when you make your own decision and go your own way. Make sure you look for the Lord’s leading each step of the way.
Copyright; 2019 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved