Mosses led the people to the promised land, Joshua led the people to conquer the land, with the Lords direction. The City of Ai was attacked by Israel and Joshua gives us lessons we can apply today. See Joshua chapters 7 and 8 for the full text.
First, Israel was defeated when attacking Ai, they sent too few people to attack and were defeated because they were disobedient. Ai believed they had turned back the nation of Israel.
Next, with the Lord’s guidance Joshua launched a second attack. He placed a force behind the city and then launched an attack from the front. The commanders of Ai believed they would win, as before, so they went out to fight Israel. Israel retreated, and Ai, believing this was another easy victory pursued Israel. Then the forces hiding behind the city struck, taking the undefended city easily. When the main force of Ai realized what happened, they were trapped and destroyed.
We can easily make the same mistakes committed by Ai. First, Ai believed they won the first battle on their own strength. When we win, in ministry or anything else we need to give the glory and credit to the Lord, not our expert efforts.
Second, Ai believed the next battle would be like the first. Often when something works well we just want to repeat the action, believing we would get the same results. For example, we may ride out a hurricane very well. Then, when another comes along believe we can just stay put, rather then evacuate. However, the next storm may be larger, more powerful or hit us more directly then the past. Our past experience of just holding tight during the storm could be a very poor choice.
Third, Ai failed to be alert to the movement of the Israeli army behind the city. Thirty thousand fighters were place behind the city, a force hard to hide if Ai was paying attention.
Fourth, when Ai advanced against the frontal assault they failed to understand they were facing a much larger force, a force they could not overcome. Because they won easily over a smaller force, they just believed Israel was again retreating. They thought they were just replaying the same battle, wrong.
Fifth, they realized the mistake too late. When they looked back, they could see the smoke from their burning city and understood the situation was different. They tried to go back, but were now trapped between Joshua’s forces, and destroyed.
Christian Emergency Network Application:
- Insure we give credit to the Lord, not ourselves for victories, or successfully riding out a storm.
- Assess each situation as new, the event may, or may not be the same as the past.
- Stay alert- Ai needed to be alert to the forcers behind.
- Even when we believe everything is going our way, be careful, Ai failed to understand the new force was much larger and powerful, likewise we need to constantly assess a situation.