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Let’s look at some background...

A. Joshua: His call and commission from the Lord.

1. Born a slave, he had now risen to become the leader of Israel.

2. Moses chose him to be one of the 12 sent out to scout the land of


3. Years later, Moses appointed Joshua to lead Israel into Canaan.

4. Joshua was then commissioned by the Lord to lead his people in

Joshua 1.

B. God kept his word, and under the leadership of Joshua, the children of

Israel experience victory after victory.

1. We read in the 3rd chapter of Joshua where God the Israelites come to

the flooded Jordan, and God tells them to carry the ark of the covenant and

wade out into the water, and as they did, the waters parted and they crossed

on dry land.

2. We read in the 6th chapter of the battle of Jericho.

GOD HAS BROUGHT THEM FROM VICTORY TO VICTORY, but now we reach a place where they suffer defeat.

In the 7th chapter of Joshua, we read that the children of Israel acted

unfaithfully. They got too big for their spiritual britches, and tried to do

things their way, rather than God’s way, and they suffered defeat.

They sent a few thousand to conquer Ai and they are soundly defeated.

Back at chapter 6:17-19. Joshua gave clear instructions, and fair warning, to all the Israelites about the plunder of the city of Jericho, which God miraculously delivered into their hands. In keeping with Jewish worship, the first and best were to be offered to the Lord, and that is why the plunder of Jericho was off limits.

Joshua had dedicated everything in the city to the Lord, and we also know from verse 1 of chapter 7 that Achan disobeyed. He sinned, and essentially stole from the Lord. But Joshua doesn’t know this yet, so he simply continues the conquest of the promised land, sending some spies up to the next city. They report that this next city is going to be a breeze, a cakewalk. "only send up 2 or 3 thousand men". But as we read, those soldiers were driven back, defeated, and 36 of them were killed.

The Israelites had just defeated the mighty walled city of Jericho - they burned it to the ground. Everyone had heard about it; the Israelites were un-beatable!

They were undoubtedly on a great national high, convinced of their invincibility, sure of victory. And then this little skirmish turns into a national disaster. Men die, at the hands of a far weaker enemy. The spies said "2000 or 3000" - Joshua went high and sent 3000 just to be sure. And they were soundly thumped by a smaller and weaker army: a "few men" (7:3).

The Israelites needed a comeback, and they needed it bad. Their heads were still spinning from their defeat and they could not figure out why it had happened. After all they were the favorites , they were the ones who were expected to win. They had just survived 40 years in the wilderness, they had just crossed the Jordan on dry ground as the hand of God parted the waters, they had just won a decisive victory over the powerful fortified city of Jericho.

They had gone 3 and 0 in the last few days and were confident that they were on a roll and that no one could stop them, especially the little city of Ai about 13 miles from Jericho. They sent up a few scouts/ a few spies to see what kind of opponent these people would be. The scouting report came back and said these guys are not going to be much of a problem, "they don’t have any big hitters, their defense is shaky, I think we can shut them out."

The Israelites went in thinking easy victory and before they knew it they found themselves running for their lives. God’s people found themselves suffering a devastating defeat at the hands of their enemies and they were not quite sure why, and they certainly didn’t find the taste of defeat, too palatable.

Sometimes, God’s people find themselves, devastated, defeated and running from the enemy. Many times not really knowing how this could happen. And as they newly defeated, hold their head down and reflect they ask themselves many questions, " isn’t God on our side, how could we lose, we are back at where we started, or worse."

God’s people in our text found themselves in just this position; defeated, discouraged and hopeless.

Joshua’s Reaction

The people melt back in fear. Joshua turns immediately to God, throws himself to the ground in front of the Ark of the Covenant. And he prays, a rather self-centered prayer:

And this is where we come to our text, we find Joshua on his face, defeated,

and in despair.

He was having a little pity party.




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