Archive for January 12th, 2012

Joshua 8

Joshua 8 records the capture of the city of Ai.  Remember that a bit earlier the army had been defeated by these folks.  But this time, God is on their side.  God tells Joshua to choose “30,000 mighty men….sent them out by night….lie in ambush….remain ready….I and all the people who are with me will approach the city….draw them away….set the city on fire”.  Pretty simple plan – you make it look like it did last time.  Approach and then turn and run like you are retreating.  They saw this not all that long ago.  And of course the fighting men will leave the city and pursue them just like last time.

Only this time the trap will come down and they will enter from the other side and burn the city, as well as ambush these fighters from the side and behind.  Joshua “arose early in the morning and mustered the people and went up”.  Gotta love the leadership in this guy.  Up early  – connected with God – and obedient down to the details.  He took the people toward Ai and they turned and fled “pretended to be beaten”.  The decoy worked in real life just like it had on paper – gotta love that.  The fighting men all left town and chased after the people of Israel, and at the same time God instructed Joshua to stretch out the javelin in his hand toward the city.  That is a familiar thing for a leader to do isn’t it?  Remember Moses and the crossing of the Red Sea?  And a few other instances where Moses held up his arms during battle.

Israel struck them down, until there was left none that survived or escaped”.  They came out behind them and from the side, and soon the fleeing people turned and came at them head on too.  As the men of Ai looked back they saw their entire city in flames.  Now that has to take the wind out of your sail.  One of those oh no moments when you realize you forgot something rather important.  That day Joshua and his army took down the entire population of Ai and hanged their king in a tree.  God gave them into their hands.

So what happens as the celebration of victory?  They bury the king in a pile of stones at the gate to the former city.  They build an altar and offer a sacrifice to God.  Joshua “wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses”.  He is just coming off a victory here remember, but Joshua takes the time to write down the most important things yet again so the people do not forget.  And then “he read all the words of the law….there was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly”.  Do you see what happens here?  They just won a big victory and the response is to gather and have Joshua read the entire law to them.  There is no way they are going to be allowed to forget how this happened.  Joshua is going to keep them focused on God.  No option – just God.  How do you celebrate success in your life?  Do you party and make merry, or do you dive into God’s truth and sit in His presence?  He is the author of all things good.  We need to give Him the glory!

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