Read Joshua 7 -- 8
The Lord had held back the waters of the Jordan River at the time of the year when the Jordan River overflowed its banks so that all the Israelites passed over on dry ground in the land of Canaan (Joshua 3:6-17). Following the victory over Jericho, Joshua had become famous throughout the land (6:27) and the Israelites were rejoicing. However, without seeking direction from God, it is recorded that Joshua accepted the advice of his own counselors on how and when to attack the city of Ai. They said: Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai . . . for they are but few (7:3). Heartbreaking as it must have been, the men of Ai killed about thirty-six Israelite men: for they chased them from before the gate even to Shebarim (7:5).
Nine times in the first six chapters of this book it is said that the Lord had directed Joshua (1:1; 3:7; 4:1,8,10,15; 5:2,15; 6:2). By not consulting the Lord, Israel's defeat was inevitable (7:2-5). Joshua had momentarily failed to consider that the Lord Himself was their Commander-in-Chief, that He alone could issue orders that would result in success (1:5). First, serious sin by Achan had to be judged. Then, Joshua called on the Lord who directed him in the complete victory over Ai.
The Israelites' line of reasoning, which led to their defeat at Ai, has been repeated by most of us. When no serious problems seem to exist, we become overconfident, seemingly self-sufficient, and, thus, vulnerable, for we assume the Lord expects us to use "our own good judgment." However, apart from our submission to the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, the smallest temptation will prove to be too powerful for us. He alone gives true wisdom, discernment, and guidance through the Word of God.
Following the defeat of Ai, Joshua built an altar to the Lord. . . . 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. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua did not read before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers (foreigners) who were conversant among them (those who understood the language) (8:30,34-35).
Many people begin their Christian lives in prayer, daily Bible reading, and walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. But often, after some time passes, they become self-confident and forget that pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). The most hopeless defeat can be turned into victory when we humble ourselves in genuine repentance and, in prayer, wait upon the Lord, who shall renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31). The truth here is that we don't win our victories because we are Christians any more than the people of Israel won the battle at Ai because they were Israelites. We truly need to maintain an awareness of our need to fully depend upon God for guidance (I Samuel 17:47).
His Word is the greatest power we possess, for the Word of God is . . . powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword (Hebrews 4:12).
Christ Revealed: Through the uncut stones of the altar (Joshua 8:31). Daniel saw Christ as a Stone which was not cut by human hands (Dan. 2:34,45). Jesus is our Chief Corner Stone (I Pet. 2:6-8).
Word Studies: 7:5 in the going down means down the hillside; 7:6 put dust upon their heads an expression of humility and sorrow; 7:11 dissembled means acted deceitfully; 7:19 give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord means to confess the truth, which honors God.
Government Officials: Justice Ruth Ginsburg and Gov. Don Sundquist (TN) · BPM Staff: George Kopchak · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WMTC-AM, Vancleve, KY · Country: Bahrain (629,000) 11 islands in the Persian Gulf near Saudi Arabia · Major languages: Arabic and English · No evangelical work is permitted · 85% Muslim; 5% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant; 1% Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that He has promised to sustain us at all times (Psalms 55:22).
Optional Reading: John 6
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:9