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Follow with me as I begin to read in verse one.
Read Joshua 8:1-2
Verses 3-29 set forth the Instructions for Victory and the Destruction of the Enemy. We will discuss both of these points in detail in a moment, but for now, I want us to consider the Lord Word’s which were Encouraging.
I. WORDS WHICH WERE ENCOURAGING
How sweet it must have been to Joshua’s ears to once again here the words of the Lord as He said, "fear not, neither be thou dismayed." In essence what the Lord was saying was, "Joshua...
A. Don’t be Defeated by the past
1. How easy it is for us to be defeated by our past.
2. When you and I look back at our past failures and the humiliating defeats we have suffered along the way, how can we help but wonder "Is there any hope? Is there any use in beginning again? Is there any way possible to get back even a portion of what I’ve lost because sin?" And in answer to our wondering, the Lord says "YES!" Jesus says, "Fear not!"
3. I like what Arthur Pink said when he wrote, "When iniquities have prevailed against him and the enemy has humiliated him, he is prone to be ‘swallowed up with over-much sorrow’ and suffer Satan to keep him in the slough of despond, which is not only needless and foolish, but dishonoring to God. If he has sincerely and contritely forsaken his sins, then he should confidently reckon upon God’s mercy and appropriate His promise ‘He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’"
He went on to say that the Lord "calls upon the restored backslider to renew the contest with his enemies. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. Quit not the fight because you have been worsted, nor even if you were wounded. Though you were blameable for the failure, having confessed the same to God, resume the struggle."
4. Thank God we don’t have to be defeated by our past.
B. Don’t be Dismayed about the future
1. The Psalmist said in Psalm 37:23-24, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand."
2. The reality of the Christian life is that though our steps are ordered by the Lord, there will be times when we will falter and fail. But though we fall, we will not be utterly cast down. That is, we will not, by God’s grace, be down for the count.
3. We WILL get up by through the goodness of God, we WILL dust our self off by the grace of God, and we WILL get back on course for the glory of God.
II. A WAR THAT WAS ENLIGHTENING
There are certainly a number of things to be learned from Israel’s second battle with Ai.
A. The Strategy they Employed
a. Notice what the Lord told Joshua to do in verse 1. God said, "...go up to Ai..."
b. What we learn here is that the sin that caused our downfall MUST BE confronted...it must be dealt with.
c. If we are going to get back on course, we must return to the place of defeat and with God’s help, transform it into a place of victory.
d. Before we can ever hope to be victorious over eventual sin, we must get the victory over
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