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4. Two Steps Froward; One Step Back

October 2, 2009

Text:      Joshua 8:1-9:27

Key Verse:     Joshua 8:1

Outline:      I. Israel Destroys Ai           Joshua 8:1-29

                         II. Israel Worships              Joshua 8:32-35

                         III. Israel is Deceived        Joshua 9:1-27

Context/Discussion/Comments:

     God encourages Joshua and instructs him to take the whole Israeli army and attack Ai. They are to completely destroy Ai but they can take its’ possessions and livestock. They are to set an ambush during the night at the “rear” of the city and then attack the “front” during the day. Those who attack will run feigning defeat and the army at the “rear” will rise up, take the city, and burn it. God’s strategy works. Even those from nearby Bethel allied with Ai were involved against Israel. The city is taken, burned, and Ai’s army is caught between the 2 Israeli regiments and destroyed. Only the king of Ai lived and he was hung on a tree to die.

     Joshua builds an altar of uncut stones on Mt Ebal per Moses instructions [Deut. 27:1-8]. He also copied God’s Law on other stones placed near the altar per Moses instructions. Israel offers Burnt Offerings and Fellowship Offerings on the altar. Next the elders and priests stand on both sides of the Ark. Half of Israel stands in front of Mt. Ebal and the other half stand in front of Mt. Gerzin to hear and agree with God’s blessings and curses as given to Moses. Joshua proceeds to read the whole Law to the people

     All the people to the west of the Jordan River band together to fight Israel after hearing of their success against Jericho and Ai. The people of Gibeon decide to use deception by coming to Israel’s camp claiming to come from afar and desiring to make a treaty with Israel. Israel questions their story but are convinced when looking at the poor conditions of their food and clothing. Israel forgets to consult with God and makes a treaty of peace with the Gibeonites. Three days later Israel realizes the truth, that the Gibeonites were neighbors when they came to their cities. But Israel did not attack them because they had signed a treaty and given them an oath on behalf of God. Israel expresses disappointment with their leaders’ decision so they make the Gibeonites slaves, carrying water and cutting wood. Joshua challenges the Gibeonites deception and learns they knew of the Lord’s command for Israel to destroy all people living in the land. Joshua honored the treaty, letting them live and serve Israel.

Lessons/Applications:

     1. God continually encourages us when we have done right.

     2. Consecration of all prior to entering the battles for God is necessary to guarantee victory. Never enter a battle for God without first getting on your knees before God to confess your sin and ask for His guidance and wisdom. In other words, one must kneel before Jesus before one can stand up for Jesus.

     3. Worship the Lord, thanking Him and praising His Name for the victories God’s hand has delivered.

     4. The worship of the Lord God should always take priority, even over fighting for the Lord God.

     5. Expect strong opposition to God, His work and ministry, when the ungodly learn of God’s wrath.

     6. Opposition to the Lord’s work/ministry can also come in the form of deception. Always seek God’s wisdom and will before agreeing to sign a contract [agreeing to work together] with another party.

     7. When questioning the motives of another, question God too and seek His Will.

     8. Even though it is uncomfortable, keep your word and thus, keep your credibility. God’s word of mercy overcomes God’s wrath.

     9. Staying on your knees before God prevents being blindsided by God’s enemies.

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