Joshua Chapter Eight (Part Three)

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 8:28-29

3. Victory at Ai (Continued). The city of Ai is burned and made into a permanent ruin. The King is hung. He was then buried under a pile of rocks.

Applications -

- Giving leadership to wrongdoing. Notice in vs. 29 that the King suffered more than the others in Ai. In like manner, it is one thing to do wrong, but it is a greater matter when you give leadership to getting others to do wrong.

Furthermore, God is the one who determines what is right or wrong. Think about the difference between robbing God of His enthusiastic worship and then trying to get others to do the same. Think about robbing God of His tithes and offerings and then trying to get others to do the same.

Let’s work on making sure that we live according to God’s will, instead of giving leadership to people doing wrong.

- Failure doesn’t have to be fatal. Notice in vs. 29 that the people of God’s previous failure was not fatal. The first battle against Ai led to defeat. The second battle against Ai led to victory. Thank God they didn’t stop with the first defeated battle.

In like manner, we should work on learning from our mistakes and pressing forward trusting that God will keep His promises to bless those who obey Him. Let’s work on not giving up, when we lose a battle or two. 

Read Joshua 8:30-35

4. Worship at Ebal. Joshua has an altar built at Ebal. Offerings are sacrificed on the altar, as prescribed by Moses. The law of Moses was copied on stones. Joshua read all of the laws to all of those who were under the scope of his leadership - men, women, children, and aliens.

Applications -

- The priority of worshipping God. Notice in vs. 30 that time and place were made for the worshipping of God. There are too many people who get so caught up in enjoying the plunder of victory that they make no or very little time to worship God.

They don’t come to the place that is designate for worship. This is so sad. The same God who blessed us to have the plunder and victory can take it away, if we cannot handle it and worship God at the same time. Let’s work on living like God is more important than the blessings that He has allowed us to enjoy.

- Inspired by history. Notice in vs. 31 that the people remembered that God had done marvelous work through the ministry of Moses.

First, there are too many who try to dismiss or discredit what God has done in the past. We should strive to appreciate what God has done through others in the past, if for no other reason than very soon, we will all be in the past.

Second, written documents were helpful then and will be helpful today in facilitating accurate recollection of the past. Oral traditions can be rather unreliable and inaccurate. Let’s work on remembering and being inspired by what God has done through His people in the past.

- Worship in giving. Notice in vs. 31 that when the people worshipped God they worshipped with burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. A burnt offering was concerned with making atonement for the sins of the one giving the sacrifice. A fellowship offering was concerned with peace or fellowship among God’s people and with God.

Today, we have Jesus as our burnt offering and really don’t have to give for the sake of peace with God or His people. We should thank God for being the great substitutionary sacrifice and offering.

And we should still give to God because we love Him and His work. Let’s work on giving like God is dear to us.

- Receiving God’s word. Notice in vs. 34 of Joshua that all of the words - blessings and curses - were read to all of the people. First, it is important for believers to be familiar with the entire Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, God has blessings for the obedient and punishment for the disobedient. We ought not be guilty of ignoring those passages outside of our selected favorites.

Second, every believer needs to hear the word. Women, men, and young people need to hear the word of the Lord. There are too many church members who never come to hear the word of the Lord, especially in Bible study and Sunday School.

Third, the church should be busy making sure the word is being shared with all who come to hear it. It would be terrible for people to want to hear the word, but no word is being offered. Let’s work on sharing and receiving the word of God with a mind to obey.

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

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