Monday, March 24, 2008

Failure at Ai

March 24: Joshua 5-8

13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Joshua 5:13-15

1 But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.

4 So about 3,000 men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, 5 and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies.
Joshua 7:1, 4-5, & 10-12

18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” And Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19 And the men in the ambush rose quickly out of their place, and as soon as he had stretched out his hand, they ran and entered the city and captured it. And they hurried to set the city on fire.

35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.
Joshua 8:18-19 & 35

Failure at Ai

With Joshua at the helm, the Israelites were ready to attack Jericho, when an amazing thing happened.

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand.

Who was this man? That is exactly what Joshua wanted to know.

And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.”

How did Joshua respond?

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”

The commander of the Lord's army answered, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.”

Then the Bible simply states, And Joshua did so.

Joshua, like Moses, was a humble man, totally devoted to the Lord. This amazing conversation, was followed by an astounding victory for the Israelites when they captured Jericho.

But, then what happened? The small town of Ai sent the Israelites running. How could this be? After such a glorious appearing of the commander of the Lord's army, how could they suffer defeat so soon?

But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.

It doesn't seem like such a great sin, does it? Achan saw a beautiful garment and took it for himself along with some silver. He buried them in his tent, believing that no one would know what he had done.

God, however, knew, and He was angry. Sometimes, like Achan, we just don't get it, do we? God is holy, and He demands holiness from His children. Just because we do not see immediate retribution for the sins we commit, we must never assume that God does not see. Achan's sin caused the death of about thirty-five Israelite soldiers. We do not think about how our own sin affects those around us, especially our families, do we?

When the sin of Achan was revealed and dealt with, God again commanded Joshua to attack Ai; this time the city of Aiwas defeated.

What lesson did Joshua learn from this and how did he respond? Look at Joshua 8:35.

There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.

Joshua built an altar to the Lord, and then brought all of the children of Israel together, where he read to them the entire law of Moses.

Do you think things like this happen to us today? Do you think we experience failures in our lives because of our sins against the Lord? Remember the failure at Ai as you ponder that question.

Get into the Word; read it and study, and by God's grace internalize it so that it impacts every area of your life. God is a holy God, and He expects holiness from His people!

"You shall be holy, for I am holy."
1 Peter 1:16

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

No comments: