Summary: All our failures are prayer failures
“Joshua sent his soldiers to spy out the small village of Ai. They returned saying, ‘It is a small town, only send two or three thousand soldiers.’ They went and were defeated; they ran from battle and 36 soldiers were killed” (Joshua 7:2-5, ELT).
1. Six weaknesses of overconfidence.
1) Not praying.
2) Give God second best.
3) Leaders not go, send someone else.
4) Trust in past victories.
5) Not realize enemy’s strength.
6) Didn’t take the Ark (God) to battle.
2. “All our failures are prayer failures.” – Jerry Falwell Sr.
3. Israel prepared for battle in a normal way.
a. Targeted next battle.
b. Sent spies for information.
c. Conservative approach, i.e., not send all (v. 3).
b. 36 died.
“Joshua and the leaders tore their clothes, put dust on their heads, prayed face down all day. Joshua cried, ‘O LORD God, why did you bring us here to kill us? When our enemies hear what happened, they will surround us and wipe us out. They will laugh at Your name’” (Joshua 7:6-9).
5. Repentance is a correct response to defeat.
a. Enter the presence of God. “Facing the Ark” (v. 6).
b. Outward, tore clothes, dirt on head.
c. Recognize His power, “O LORD God” (v. 6).
6. Blame God. Normal human reaction. “Why did you bring us here?” (v. 7).
Why We Don’t Pray
• Think we can do it by ourselves – pride.
• We only pray when we are in trouble – self-sufficiency.
• We are ignorant of our sin – not know the Word.
• We can’t tell when the Spirit of God leaves us.
7. Physical more important than spiritual. “Other side of Jordan” (v. 7).
“The Lord told Joshua, ‘Get up, stop lying on your face. Israel has sinned and stolen the things I claimed for worship, then hid it and lied about it. I will not dwell among your sin. That is why Israel is running from her enemies in defeat. You must destroy the things that separate you from Me. Get up! Command the people to purify themselves. You will never defeat your enemies until you get rid of those things that symbolize your sins’” (Joshua 7:10-13).
8. There is a time to stop praying and act.
9. Sin always separates us from God.
10. Many sins may not be evil in themselves, but they represent the issue of our obedience and love to God. Later the soldiers were allowed to keep money captured in battle. Don’t break God’s symbols.
11. God is more concerned about our sin then we are.
12. We must destroy sin inwardly and outwardly. Outward repentance and inward crucifying our “lust of the eyes” (Gal. 5:24; 6:14).
13. Our personal sin hurts other Christians.
14. We must take care of sin before God’s blessing is restored.
“The Lord told Joshua, ‘In the morning have all present themselves before the Lord and He will point out which ones are the guilty men’” (7:14). “Joshua brought the tribes before the Lord and the tribe of Judah was singled out . . . and Achan was singled out. Joshua said, ‘My son give glory to God, tell the truth . . . confess . . . don’t hide it from me’” (7:16-19).
15. It’s human to think you can get away with private sin.