Summary: Overcoming defeat with victory speaks about how we can overcome our defeats and push on to victory based on Joshua 7 and 8. Reason for failure. The effects of sin. The remedy for sin. Result of overcoming sin is victory.
Introduction: Have you ever been defeated at something? I was watching the football world cup match between Germany and South Korea. South Korea are already in the bottom of the chart and Germany had to win to advance. During the 6 minutes extra time, Korea scored twice and the Germans were shattered.
Failure hurts. To put it mildly, it’s a painful experience, one that many of us work tirelessly to avoid. Often, its effects can be long-lasting, leaving a mark in our minds, and creating a mental hurdle that can be difficult to overcome in later years.
But failure is also necessary. When we fail, we tend to ponder, searching for new meaning to our lives, exploring the potential for possible answers and solutions for achieving our goals. In fact, failure is a crucial part of our forward progress.
This morning I want to speak to you on the subject: Overcoming defeat with victory.
Israel has just been involved in the greatest military victory in their history. The people of Jericho are all dead. Nothing is left of Jericho but smoking rubble and ashes. They have just witnessed God’s defeat of the city of Jericho, and they are still basking in the glow of that event. The next day Israel needs to finish off a little nearby village, Ai. It is not a great walled city like Jericho. Ai is so small that Joshua’s captains recommend they just send a small detachment.
But no sooner than they invade they start sensing that God is not on their side. Up to this point God had been fighting for them and giving them the victory, but not today. Thirty six fighting men died and the name of God was disgraced.
Why were they defeated? The simple reason is there was sin in the camp! In the Bible, Ai is a typology of the flesh. The word “Ai” means, “a heap of ruins.” That is a good way to describe the flesh in which we live.
Israel thought all was well, that they were standing on the threshold of a great string of victories that would see them conquering the entire Promised Land. Yet, what they did not know was that there was a problem in the camp.
God was angry because all the spoils of Jericho were to be dedicated to the Lord. Joshua 6:19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury. The riches and bounty of that place were to be placed in the treasury.
It’s the principle of first fruits for God. It says that the first of everything belongs to God. But verse one of chapter seven tells us that God is upset with the people. Joshua 7:1 But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan ……, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. God was angry because of Israel’s sin and they got defeated.
1. Reason for the defeat.
a. Sin of covetousness.
When the Israelites destroyed Jericho, Achan of the tribe of Judah, coveted a beautiful Babylonian robe, gold, and silver and took it to his tent.
See the progression of this sin. Joshua 7:20-21 20Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
This is sin of covetousness: He saw, he coveted, he took, and he hid. First there’s desire, then deed, then deception. It happened the same way for man in the garden. Eve saw, she desired, and she ate, and then they covered themselves with fig leaves. Look at the sin of David with Bathsheba. He saw her, wanted her, sent for her, then covered it up. And it happens the same today for us.
Joke: Three believer guys shared and bought a lottery ticket and they won the grand prize of 1 Crore. The first one said, “This is a blessing, but how much do we keep for ourselves and how much should we give to God?” After a few minutes he said, “We’ll draw a circle and throw the money up in the air, whatever lands out of the circle we’ll keep and whatever lands in the circle we’ll give to God.”
The second guy immediately prompted, “I think we should throw the money up in the air and whatever lands inside the circle we keep and whatever lands outside of the circle we give to God.”
The third guy was an accountant. He immediately said, “I have a wonderful idea. I think we should throw the money up in the air and whatever God wants he can keep and we’ll keep the rest for ourselves.”