Defeat at Ai
- Joshua 7:1 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:2 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:3 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:4 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:5 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:6 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:7 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:8 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:9 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:10 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:11 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:12 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:13 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:14 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:15 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:16 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:17 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:18 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:19 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:20 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:21 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:22 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:23 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:24 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:25 (KJV)
- Joshua 7:26 (KJV)
After this stunning victory, Joshua and his army next fought against the little city of Ai.
After their great victory at Jericho, the Israelites had become proud. In their new selfconfidence they were quite unprepared for this shocking defeat at the small city of Ai. Even Joshua became discouraged and said in verse seven, “Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all; to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!”
Then the Lord told Joshua in verse 11 that sin in the camp was the real reason why they were defeated: “Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies.” One of the Israelite soldiers had disobeyed God's instructions to utterly
destroy Jericho and had stolen some of the spoil. Because of this sin, the Lord did not help Israel to defeat the soldiers of Ai.
In this incident we see the importance of dealing with seemingly little or hidden sins. The sin of one soldier caused the entire army to lose the battle. This principle sometimes can be applied to a family, ministry, church, or denomination. One person hiding sin may be important enough for the Lord to allow the entire group to suffer defeat! Sin is likened to leaven, and the warning is repeated twice in the Bible that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Cor.5:6 & Gal.5:9).
We must be very careful to deal with sin because it seeks to silently multiply and corrupt the people of God.
To deal with the problem, the Lord told Joshua in verse 14, “In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes shall
come according to families; and the family which the Lord takes shall come by households; and the household which the Lord takes shall come man by man.” At this roll call, The Lord said He would pinpoint first the tribe, then the family, next the household, and finally the man who had committed this sin. While we are not told in this story the exact method by which Joshua was
able to single the man out, there were two methods in the Old Testament that were used for such occasions: casting a lot, or the High Priest using the Urim and Thummin.If the method involved was to use lots, then a stone was picked at random or dice were thrown. The one chosen by the stone or dice was accepted as being chosen by God (Prov.16:33).
This method was used throughout the Old Testament, and even by the early disciples in Acts chapter one. However, this external guidance was never scripturally used again after the Day of
Pentecost. This is because the Holy Spirit was then given to the saints to lead and guide us into the truth. Today we are to be led by the Spirit, not by throwing dice or casting lots. The other form of guidance was to have the High Priest consult the Urim and Thummin.
The Lord had specifically given Joshua this form of guidance when he was ordained by Moses to become the new leader of Israel. We read from Numbers 27:18-21, “And the Lord said to Moses:
‘Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight.. He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim.’” While the exact use of the Urim and Thummin are no longer known, the Scriptures do tell us
that they were placed inside the High Priest's breastplate to be over his heart when he went in before the Lord (Ex.28:30). They may have been two stones or lots, and depending upon which one was pulled out of the breastplate, it signified “yes” or “no” to reveal God's choice. What is clear from the account in Joshua chapter seven was that the High Priest clearly was led by the Spirit in gaining the proper guidance.
As in Joshua's day, there are still times today when hidden sin among God's people needs to be exposed and removed. We are now to be the priests of God who can receive the guidance and revelation needed to pinpoint the problem. Just as the High Priest reached into the breastplate over his heart to choose God's answer, we need to be able to reach into our heart today and gain the witness of the Spirit to know God's guidance.An elderly man of God who had been part of what was called the “Latter Rain” revival of the
1950's once told a story that illustrates this truth well. He was one of the pastors of a church that grew to have several thousand members in that revival. In one service, a prophecy came forth that a minister was sitting in the congregation who had hidden sin in his life. This pastor then prayed while he was sitting behind the pulpit, and began to sweep his eyes from the right
side of the large congregation to the left. As his vision arrived at the center-left area, he felt a witness in his heart that became less as he continued to look more to the left. So he swept his
vision back towards the right, then to the left, then to the right, in smaller and smaller sweeps, just like a pendulum that swings less and less as it comes into balance. Finally he felt the witness
of the Spirit center his field of vision on one straight line of the congregation. As he looked at that straight line, he then used the same method of starting to look at the front row of the
congregation and going backwards. Before his vision had reached the back, he felt he was looking the wrong way, so he again started to look more towards the front. As he followed the
witness of the Spirit in his heart, he slowly settled on one place near the middle of the congregation- and there he saw a man sitting, whom he felt was the person that Lord had just spoken about. When he left the platform and went down to speak to him, the man confessed that he was a minister who had fallen into sin. The visitor wept and repented of his sin because this pastor, like Joshua, had been able to pinpoint the “sin in the camp.”
I saw another illustration of how the Lord can pinpoint sin years ago when I was one of the directors of a fellowship of 5 churches. One of the young pastors had left his church in defeat.
Several other leaders and I counseled with him, trying to find out what was the problem. The discouraged young pastor made some excuses, but in my spirit I knew we had not yet discovered
the real problem. After a while I said in my heart, “this brother is blind,” because this young man had clearly lost his spiritual vision. Yet as soon as I said to myself that he was blind, the Holy Spirit in my heart quickened the thought, “Blind like Samson.” As I silently prayed about this for several minutes, I became convinced that the real problem of this young pastor was the same problem that Samson had, which was immorality. At that point I interrupted the counseling session to tell the young man, “Brother, the real reason for your problem is that you have committed immorality.” In surprise he looked up and said, “Who told you that?” I replied that God had told me, because God loved him and wanted to set him free from this sin. At that point
the young man broke, confessed his sin, and began to repent. That day he met the Lord in a life changing way, and after a season of restoration has gone on to have many years of fruitful
Through God's guidance Joshua singled out a soldier named Achan. After he had gathered Achan's confession and the things he had stolen, we read, “Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters,
his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, ‘Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.’ So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day” (Josh.7:24-26).
Through this judgment the Lord removed the sin from Israel. It also certainly put the fear of God into their hearts to keep them from sinning again! The valley where Achan was stoned became named the Valley of Achor, which means, the “Valley of Trouble.” It signified the valley experience of suffering that all Israel passed through to purge out sin. Many centuries later the Prophet Hosea spoke of how God was going to cleanse sinful Israel by again bringing them into the Valley of Achor. In Hosea 2:14-15 we read, “Therefore, behold,
I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the
days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.”
In this scripture we see the Lord again bringing His people into a wilderness experience where they enter the Valley of Trouble. Many years ago the Lord gave this scripture to my wife and me when we were going through a season of humbling and purging. Yet these verses told us that this valley of trouble was designed by God to become a door of hope! It is from these experiences that the Lord can give us our vineyards, which speak of fruitful ministry. Our hearts can be changed so that we will sing for joy, just as when we were first born again (or, came up
out of the land of Egypt). Our relationship with the Lord can become more intimate, as we read in the next verse of Hosea 2:16. “ ‘And it shall be, in that day,’ says the Lord, ‘that you will call Me “My Husband,” and no longer call Me “My Master.”’” This valley experience changes us so that we no longer serve the Lord from a legalistic obedience to Him as our Master. Instead, our relationship with Him will be based on love as He becomes our Husband. Yes, the Lord often uses valley experiences to help us to move along in our walk with God. In fact, the quickest way up a mountain is often to travel up through a valley!
Created almost 2 years ago