Summary: We must learn from our mistakes and let them make us better.
Lessons Learned Along the Way
Text: Joshua 8:1-29
1. Illustration: In his book entitled Failing Forward John Maxwell shows the vicious cycle that sets up in our lives when we yield to a fear of failure:
To break that cycle of defeat we must commit ourselves to positive action. We must be willing to risk failure in order to succeed (Failing Forward by John Maxwell, page 38).
2. The question is not whether we will make mistakes, but will we learn from them and move on.
3. When we make mistakes we must:
a. Get over it and move on.
b. Remember what we have learned and don’t repeat it.
c. Maintain the momentum and not look back.
4. Read Joshua 8:1-29
Proposition: We must learn from our mistakes and let them make us better.
Transition: When we make a mistake we must get over it and...
I. Move On (1-2)
A. Do Not Be Afraid or Discouraged
1. It is human nature, once you have made a mistake, to draw into yourself and become afraid of doing anything.
2. The Lord understood that, so He told Joshua "Do not be afraid or discouraged."
a. The Lord had been angry with Israel because of Achan’s sin, and as a result, they were strongly defeated by Ai.
b. However, the situation had changed.
c. Yahweh’s words of encouragement to Joshua in 8:1 reinforce the statement of 7:26, that he was no longer angry with Israel.
d. Atonement had been made for the nation’s sin, and the task at hand was to get on with the conquest.—(New American Commentary)
3. The circumstances where once again what they before Achan’s sin, and God hand once again on Israel’s side.
a. Most of us realize that God forgives us of our sins, but we are not always ready to forgive ourselves.
b. Isaiah 43:25 "I—yes, I alone—am the one who blots out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.
c. If God is willing to forget about our sins, why aren’t we?
4. The Lord reassures Joshua that this time when they attack Ai things will be different. He says "Take the entire army and attack Ai, for I have given to you the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land."
a. It would be different because this time He had given Ai into their hands.
b. It would be different because this time they would do it the Lord’s way and not their own.
c. Notice that this time he takes considerably more men with him.
d. Doing things God’s way is always better than doing them our way.
5. Notice that the taking of Ai would not only depend on God’s involvement, but also careful planing (Woudstra, 135).
a. The Lord gives the victory, but it still requires us moving forward.
b. Moving forward requires us stepping out in faith and taking a risk.
c. Throughout the Bible, people of faith were always risk takers.
d. We need to lay aside our mistakes, take a risk, and move on.
B. Failing Forward
1. Illustration: "There is no doubt in my mind that there are many ways to be a winner, but there is really only one way to be a loser and that is to fail and not look beyond the failure." (Kyle Rote, Jr. quoted in Failing Forward by John Maxwell pp. 2-3)
2. There are few guarantees in life, but one of them is that we will make mistakes.
a. Rom. 3:23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
b. The problem isn’t making the mistake, the problem is dwelling on it.
c. The problem isn’t the mistake, the problem is letting the mistake paralyze you.
3. Don’t allow your mistakes hold you back.
a. Rom. 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
b. If Jesus doesn’t condemn you, don’t condemn yourself.
c. Realize it, confess it, repent of it, and move on.
4. Don’t allow your mistakes to keep you out of the game.
a. Shake it off
b. Put it behind you
c. Tomorrow is a new day
Transition: The other thing we cannot do, however, is repeat our mistakes.
II. Remember What You Have Learned (3-17)
A. The Lord Will Give It To You
1. We see another key element here in verses 3-17 - Joshua and the Israelites learned from their mistake.
2. This fact is clearly demonstrated in verse 13, where it says "So Joshua and all the fighting men set out to attack Ai. Joshua chose 30,000 of his best warriors and sent them out at night..."
a. The first thing that they learned was not to be arrogant or overconfident.