Joshua Chapter Eight (Part Two)

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

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Read Joshua 8:9-19

3. Victory at Ai (continued). The leader set up the ambush and his team lured the men of Ai out of their city. The ambush team went in and destroyed the defenseless city on Joshua's command.

Applications -

- A unified leadership team. Notice in vs. 10 that the leaders were all on the same page. The page that they were on was the page that God gave to the leader that He sent. There is too much disunity among the leaders in our churches.

This disunity leads to the people of God being ineffective in obtaining the blessings that God wants them to have. God wants individuals, families, and communities to have life and that more abundantly. Let’s work on supporting the development of a unified leadership team.

This calls for a head leader who is connected with God and giving effort to communicating with the leaders under him/her. This calls for all leaders to learn and follow the plan that God has given the head leader.

This calls for the discipline of those who don’t follow the aforementioned.

- Following God’s leadership. Notice in vss. 18-19 that God speaks, Joshua obeys, and the people follow leadership.

It seems as if there are so many horror stories running around that too many people are unwilling to simply do what God has placed on the heart of the leader that He has sent.

On one hand, when we don’t follow leadership, we don’t end up being mistreated by the leader. But on the other hand, when we don’t follow leadership, we miss out on the blessings that God sends and we risk angering God.

Let’s work on developing a greater level of following God’s leadership. His blessing our obedience is so much more pleasant than His punishing our disobedience.

Read Joshua 8:20-29

(Continuation) The destruction of Ai is complete. The men were killed in battle. The women, children, and aged were killed in the city. All of the livestock and plunder were taken by God’s people. The King’s body was buried under rocks at the city gate, after he was hung to death.

Applications -

- Faith and works. Notice in vss. 20-22 that the conquering of Ai called for faith and works. There was an obvious faith and confidence in God. But there is obviously a work that goes with the faith.

There are too many people who claim to have faith. “Faith” is code for they are trusting God to do it all, including the part that God has called them to do. Others are heavy on work and light on faith. They behave as if all of the weight is on them and God is not really God.

Let’s strive to have a faith that inspires us to do the work that God is calling for. In this text, the work was to carry out an ambush. Today it may be the work of investing our money, exercising our bodies, or cutting off some bad relationships.

- God’s wrath. Notice in vs. 24 that things were so terrible for those who were not right with God. Instead of trying to figure out why God was so mean to the people of Ai, we may spend out time more wisely by making sure we are right with God.

The only way to be right with God is to accept Jesus as your savior by faith. The only way to be “tight” or in fellowship with God is to obey His will, which places high priority on loving God and others, as we love ourselves.

Let’s make sure we are right with God, so we can avoid His wrath.

- God’s blessings. Notice in vs. 27 that there are blessings for the faithful, even if they come from the wicked. First, God has a way of blessing those who simply obey His will. It can be a material blessing. It can be a relational blessing. And it can be the blessing of good physical and mental health.

Second, God has a way of punishing those who don’t obey Him. God can send pain and withhold blessings.

Third, God can take from the wicked and give to the obedient, as in the text. Instead of trying to understand or control God, we should make sure we are on the right side of God’s blessings. Let’s work on obeying and being blessed, instead of waddling in our sins and being punished.

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

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