2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.
3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.
4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.
5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.
6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.
7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!
8 O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!
9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?
In this passage we see that the Children of Israel were not victorious over a smaller city Ai. They had suffered some loss. After the children of Israel had been victorious over a larger, fortified, strong city such as Jericho this was a hard loss. The Lord had spoke to Joshua before crossing the Jordan that He would be with them, that they would be victorious.
1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
So, you see the dilemma when they were defeated? That had assurance that God was with them. However, it is verse 1 of chapter 7 that really explains what happens.
Joshua 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
Joshua had not known this yet, in verse 10 the Lord tells Joshua to get up, verse 11, He explains why this defeat has occurred. As we continue reading the Lord explains that the trespass had caused the children of Israel to be accursed. The Lord God is very merciful, He next explains to Joshua what to do to fix this problem.
10 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.
The rest of chapter 7 discusses how the Lord has Joshua separate the people according to tribe, family, household, then man by man. Every step of the way the Lord is showing Joshua who was responsible for Israel’s trouble. Upon finding the culprit (Achan) the solution to satisfy the Lord’s anger was to take this man, his family, animals, belongings, everything and burn it all after they stoned them to death. They than stacked stones where this had taken place over the remains and unto this day that place has been called the Valley of Achor.
14 In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.
15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.
16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:
17 And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken:
18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it.
23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD.
24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.
26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.
In chapter 8 we find the Lord reassuring Joshua; that He will and can take Ai. This time the children of Israel could take the spoil as well.
1 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
Jos 8:2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.
Read Joshua 8:3-13
3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night.
4 And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready:
5 And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them,
6 (For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them.
7 Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand.
8 And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the LORD shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.
9 Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people.
10 And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
11 And all the people, even the people of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai.
12 And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
13 And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
Joshua did follow what the Lord had instructed. He laid out a plan for an ambush. It was a divide and conquer method. He divided the men sent them around about the city and then Joshua and some men went to the valley before Ai.
Read Joshua 8:14-24
14 And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city.
15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
16 And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city.
17 And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.
18 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.
19 And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.
20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers.
21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai.
22 And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
23 And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.
24 And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
When Joshua was formulating the ambush plan and used 30,000 men of valor to send out at night before they went out the next day to surround the city. This becomes interesting as the first report in Joshua chapter 7 the spies tell us that Ai was a smaller city and not everyone needed to go to defeat them. Verse 25 tells us there were 12,000 of them. The 30,000 was not even all of them that were with Joshua. This would take care of what Joshua said their enemies might think at the defeat they had suffered. Clearly the children of Israel are coming out strong and unified.
25 And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.
26 For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
27 Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua.
28 And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.
29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.
When the timing was right it was executed. Through the Lord’s instructions and Joshua’s obedience, the children of Israel obtained victory. They left Ai with a great heap of stones signifying its defeat.
After the success of defeating the city of Ai, Joshua built an altar unto the Lord in mount Ebal, according to how it is written in the book of the law of Moses. They offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.
30 Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal,
31 As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.
Then next few verses wrapping up chapter 8 are particularly important. Which we will talk about later.
Let us Read Joshua 8:32-35
32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.
35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.
Joshua reestablished the covenant with God and the people. Making sure they all knew what was expected of them.
There is however something much more. What I have taken away from these two chapters is a type and shadow of what the Lord is doing in our lives.
When we are born again, we are forgiven of our sins. We then start the pathway of being refined, sanctified, purified. During this process our heavenly Father will chastise us. He will allow things to happen to humble us, teach us, edify us.
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
The children of Israel had but one, transgress, but the whole congregation was troubled. An example ended up being made for all to understand. The children of Israel that crossed over the Jordan were the children of those that came out of Egypt. There fathers had perished because they transgress the Lord. Reaffirming what the Lord had spoken to Joshua in chapter 1 and then Joshua had spoken to the Children of Israel. This example reaffirms God’s word and commandments to the children of Israel.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Joshua 1:18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.
We may have things down deep (in our camp) that He is exposing to purifying and refining us from. Just as Joshua had to lean on the direction of the Father so must we. We must follow the commandments of the Lord.
The Lord helped Joshua not only pinpoint where there were problems among the camp but had him go from tribes, to families, to households, to man. In the body of Christ the Lord is doing the same today with the covenants that have been broken, the sins that have been done without repentance, with the blatant doctrinal lies that are coming out of some of the false teachers and preachers that have infiltrated the church, the body of Christ, the camp.
Where the Lord told Joshua that he must set an ambush to overcome Ai, which is a divide and conquer and then destroy method. One where he drew out the people of Ai and then defeated them, so must we. What I mean is the Lord will help draw out those deep troubles and problems within us (exposing it) and then help us overcome them. This does not stop either until all the troublesome things are removed and conquered. Just as Joshua outstretched his spear until all of Ai was destroyed.
Just as Joshua offered offerings to the Lord, we offer praise and worship to the Lord. Joshua reconfirmed the covenant with the people by writing a copy of the laws Moses had written, reading from the book of laws, and the writings of the blessings and cursing’s. Establishing what the Lord had expected out of them and what His covenant was with them.
We do the same. There are many scriptures that instruct us to do so.
15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The word of God is our instruction manual. We must follow and listen to Him. Just as Joshua followed what the Lord said in the Old Testament. The Father has sent Jesus who lead by example in the New Testament and, then when He ascended the Holy Spirit was sent to continue to help us, lead us, guide us.
So just has we get defeated because we may have sin in our camp, there is hope. Judgement began in the camp of the Children of Israel and it was judged harshly, so too will it be in the house of the Lord.
We must Repent for our sins, for not keeping the Lord’s commandments, for allowing things into our camp that the Lord specifically said not to. There are many, many issues running amuck with the Body of Christ that need to be exposed, called out, and repented for.
The Lord’s commandments are not being followed. There has been some perversion of the scriptures. The teachings of what is expected has been watered down or plainly not even taught or talked about.
Joshua was instructed to speak every word that was written. Not to leave anything out. So he did. We too are to understand that every word is needful in our walk with Christ.
Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
We live in times that were prophesied to us throughout the bible. A time where folks would be seeing a famine, not of food but of the Word of God.
Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
It was not until today when I really realized what the next verse says or means. I am sure I have read it before but never really paid much attention.
Amos 8:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
Does anyone else see these two verses in play today? I do. I have found but a few actual bible, word for word, not opinion added or agenda added preaching done today. Do you know where they are located? NOT AMERICA.
I have found that there are more real preachers across the globe not affected by the westernization of Christianity. They preach the word as it has been intended. I am not saying I agree 100% with everything being said but when it comes to the word being brought forth as the word is written its important. We are human we will make mistakes, but that is why you take everything to the Lord and search it out yourself.
Bottom line for these two chapters I believe was to see that sin in the camp can be devastating. That the true way to succeed is to follow the Word of the Lord. To lean on Him and let Him help us overcome. To read the Word and know what the Lord expects from us.
The day is rapidly approaching when Jesus will be returning for His bride. She will be without blemish, spot, and wrinkle. I honestly believe that is why the Judgement in the House of the Lord has begun. To expose and get us (the Body of Christ, the Bride, the camp) ready to be presented as a chasten virgin.
So Please fear not like the Lord spoke to Joshua, remember the covenant, remember the Word, Repent of your sins, and redo. Go back to the beginning renew the covenant with the Lord.