READ: Joshua 7:1-8:35 (esp., v8:1-29)
- With sin resolved, and the clan of Achan dealt with, God gave Joshua marching orders against Ai. Unlike the bizarre marching orders around Jericho, these were far more orthodox plans for taking a city. And it worked. God gave Ai into the hands of Joshua and his men. What should have happened the first time clearly and certainly happened on this occasion. The story reveals the power of God and the wisdom of God.
- As Joshua presents this story and there is no doubt about the victory. In potentially sweeping, epic language, victory is achieved with no room for any doubt. God is the victor. He reigns over any force that Canaan might marshal against Him. For future generations reading the story, that would be the purpose—present God as ultimate and supreme. No one can defeat Him. No gods can challenge Him.
- The story of defeat at Ai points to the power of obedience. Failure came as Israel ignored the instructions of God. Victory came when God’s instructions were obeyed. Lesson: do as God asks. Leave what belongs to Him alone. Honor Him. Fail to obey and risk failure in battle. God calls on us to be similarly inclined to obedience. We are not going to war. We are not promised there will be no failures. But we are encouraged to honor God with our obedience.
- Why do we risk dishonoring God as we fail to obey Him?
- Why is His honor not a more pressing priority for us?
- How can we cultivate obedience to God?
Thank God that He is honorable. Pray for a heart that longs to honor Him. Pray that we, as a congregation, are obedient to Him at every opportunity.