Joshua Chapter Eight (Part One)

Introduction: A key idea in Joshua is that God blesses obedience. Today, we hope to discuss victory at Ai.

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Read Joshua 8:1-8

3. Victory at Ai. The Lord tells Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged. God is going to provide the victory over Ai. In fact, the people of God can have the plunder of this conquest.

God tells Joshua to set an ambush. Joshua calls the army together and gives them orders about the ambush.

Applications -

- God’s use of the leader that He sends. Notice in vss. 1, 8 that again the Lord speaks to Joshua. It is interesting to see how normal it is in the Bible to see God speak to the leader and acceptance of God speaking to the leader.

This is even more interesting when we compare it to how suspicious it sounds today, when the leader talks to followers about what God has placed on his/her heart.

In too many cases, we miss out on God’s blessings because we miss this foundational point that God often speaks to the leader, not to the whole crowd. Let’s learn to trust God to lead our leader.

Thank God that the safety rails for following leadership include following as long as the group is not being led contrary to God’s word.

- Fear and discouragement. Notice in vs. 1 that Joshua was called to deal with his fear and discouragement. First, if it were not for the Lord on our side, there are some frightening situations before us.

The complexity of our health, the fragileness of our relationships, the volatility of our economy, and all of the violence of our day are enough to be afraid of, if it were not for the Lord. But with the Lord, we can face frightening situations with confidence in God.

Second, we can grow discouraged by our circumstances. It is discouraging to give your best in service and then have to bury 36 of your soldiers.

But because of the God factor, we are called to lift up our heads and press on with confidence that God is still working things out. Let’s work on giving energy to our trust in God, instead of to our fear or discouragement.

- Being a receiver, instead of a looser. Notice in vs. 1 that the Lord is going to give what belonged to the sinful people of Ai to His people, and He is going to do it by force, through His people.

Instead of trying to figure out why God does what He does, we should make sure we are on the right side of the equation. If you are right with God, you are the receiver of blessings. If you are not right with God, you lose your blessings.

The only way to be right with God is to accept Jesus as your savior by faith and then strive to obey His will for your life. Let’s make sure we are right with God, so we can be receiving instead of having blessings taken away.

Notice further that God can take from those He chooses to take from. We ought to make sure our confidence is in God and not the things that we possess today but can be gone tomorrow.

- God first. Notice in vs. 2 that God doesn’t mind blessing His people, He just wants His first. Matthew 6:33 makes it clear that if we would seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness then all that we need will be supplied.

There are too many people who want to satisfy their own desires first and then try to please God with what they have left over. God wants the opposite. He wants us to put Him first and trust Him to take care of us.

Let’s work on putting God first in all of our affairs. Think about how this applies to tithes and offerings, time designated to serving the Lord, and more.

- Moving on God’s orders. Notice in vss. 3, 8 that there was a need for the people to move on God’s orders to the leader and this included having sendable men. It is one thing to pray, but it is another thing to get up and let God use you to be the answer to the prayer.

Often God is calling us to simply follow the leadership that He has provided. Often God calls for at least some to be sendable.

To be sendable calls for you to be competent and reliable enough to do what you are being sent to do and then humble enough follow instructions. Let’s work on moving on God’s orders through the leaders that He sent.

- Faith and works. Notice in vss. 4-8 that there was a call for faith and works. There are too many who say they trust God, but they don’t do the works of faith. And then there are those who say they trust God, but then they try to do what they want to do and what seems right to them, without consulting God.

God is calling us to have enough faith and trust in Him to obey His will. In Joshua, this meant setting an ambush. Some would have insisted on another miracle like drowning the enemy in the sea or Jordan River. But God moves the way He chooses to move. Let’s work on having enough faith in God to obey His will.

Conclusion: Let’s work on obeying God. God has much for those who obey His will.

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