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Defeat Is Not Necessarily The Final Word

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Sermon shared by Steve Malone

June 1996
Summary: As we study these chapters we will learn what we as Godís people need to do to turn our defeats around, we will learn how to make a Comeback.
Audience: General adults
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so well, we were winning so many victories, we looked unstoppable, we were the favorites, how could this happen, isnít God on our side, how could we lose, we are back at where we started, or worse."
Godís people in our text found themselves in just this position; defeated, discouraged and hopeless.
As we study these chapters we will learn what we as Godís people need to do to turn our defeats around, we will learn how to make a Comeback.

I. WE MUST UNCOVER THE SOURCE OF DEFEAT

There were really three sources, three underlying causes to the Israelites defeat at Ai. And many times these same causes bring defeat to the church today.
A. PRIDE [7:2,3]
The Israelites were pumped after their victory. I mean who wouldnít be, they had just defeated the city of Jericho. A strong and well fortified city. They had watched the huge massive walls (2 parallel walls, 12 ft apart, outer 6 ft. inner 12 ft.) come tumbling down at their shout.
The victory they had In Jericho tasted so sweet that they could not wait, for the next one. They were a lean, mean fighting machine and they were ready.
When they saw the city of Ai, they thought to themselves, "as big and tough as we are, this will be a piece of cake, it will be like a ride through the park, Joshua we only need to send about 3 thousand men to handle this, AND if they leave in the morning theyíll probably be home for lunch."
Well we all know, that they over estimated their own abilities, they became so caught up in the victory that thy forgot about God and thought thy had done it on their own.
Paul wrote in I Corinthians 10:12, "SO, IF YOU THINK YOU ARE STANDING FIRM, BE CAREFUL; THAT YOU DONíT FALL."
The Israelites are not the only ones who have a problem with pride, the church still does today. When a church begins to have success it is easy for her to believe that they are special and that the victories they have won are because of their own goodness and abilities. They begin to walk with their head held too high, and to develop a superior attitude. They forget that it is God, not them, who brings the increase. Many who were once great leaders in church have fallen, because they thought they were something special, and that they were the sole cause for the churches success.
This year we have seen a lot of good things happen at ETCC, but letís remind ourselves of this truth, any victory that we have is Godís, and any increase we have experienced has come from him. It is certainly not because of how great we are -- but rather how great God is.
MANY TIMES THE SOURCE FOR DEFEAT STEMS FROM PRIDE, AND WHEN GODíS PEOPLE ARE PRIDEFUL (IN THEM SELVES) THEY FORGET AND FEEL THEY DONíT NEED GOD. WHICH LEADS US TO OUR SECOND SOURCE OF DEFEAT.
B. PRAYERLESSNESS
If you notice I did not list any scripture verse for prayerlessness, the reason is, is because they did not pray, they did not seek Godís direction.
God had given them specific instructions for the battle of Jericho and Joshua and the Israelites followed those instructions to the letter, and were therefore victorious.
And now, we find them going off on their own, not bothering to inquire of the Lord. Their attitude had to one of the following, "We donít need to ask God about this we can do it ourselves, OR they just forgot about God all together.
I donít know for sure, but
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