Let us continue worshiping our God by listening and learning from His Word. Open your Bibles to the Book of Joshua, which tells the story of the Israelites, God’s chosen People. We can learn much from the Israelites who were freed from their bondage in Egypt and were called to live a life with God. I may not have stated it before, but we Christians today are God’s Chosen People, who have been freed from the bondage of sin. Jesus Christ died for all our sins and we have life with God.
I trust that all of you personally believe in Jesus Christ as God, who became a human being on earth to die for all of our sins but rose from the dead to lead us to live life to the fullest and have the promise of eternal live with God.
The Israelites, after being freed from Egypt, were disciplined for 40 years in the desert to prepare them to live with God with joy in a land filled with milk and honey. Even though a promised life with God was given, the Israelites struggled with their sins as they conquered the Promised Land. We are just like the Israelites of old. America was the promised land for many Christians who left their old country in the past; as we live today in our Promised Land, how are we doing with our sins? Let us learn from God and the Israelites.
Open your bibles to Joshua 7….. Read again with me v2-5….. and v11-13….
And so, the Israelites consecrated themselves, cleansed themselves of sin and they burned all the stolen things along with Achan and his family. I mentioned this before, we Christians should, actually must, regularly cleanse ourselves of sin and all ungodly things in our lives with the power of Jesus Christ, our Only Savior and Lord!
Read along with me now Joshua 8:1-29….
The last time the Israelites attacked Ai, we do not read God telling them to go nor Joshua praying about it and they failed miserably! Now we read in Joshua 8, v1-2: God tells the Israelites to take Ai and God gave a general plan! A lesson to note here: Be careful in taking action if you have not heard from God or you have not prayed about it! Sounds so simple but I know personally that we don’t do this always; we must work on it and always claim the forgiveness of sins through the cross of Christ.
v3-8: Joshua gave detailed orders to the Israelites. Since it does not tell us here, I think there is a principle to note here: God gave a general plan but allowed Joshua with the details. God always allows us to make choices but we should always pray about them.
v9-17: Joshua and the Israelites obeyed God.
v18-19: God instructs Joshua to hold out a javelin towards Ai and the men in the ambush captured the city!
Take a look again at v19…..
Joshua was on the other side of the city from the men who were to ambush the city. How did the men in the ambush knew that Joshua held the javelin??
God said He would deliver the city to the Israelites and God was the only one who could see everything and alerted the men to capture the city! Joshua held the javelin but God orchestrated the ambush! The Israelites could not have captured Ai without God’s help!
Our prayers are just like this; we pray for people across the city or across the world, we may not see what is actually going on with those people’s lives, but God sees everything and hears all our prayers and God will respond positively if our own hearts are right with God.
v20-29: The Israelites captured and destroyed the City of Ai and all its people but this time God allowed them to carry off livestock and plunder! Now, it does not tell us why God would allow them to take plunder from Ai and not take anything from Jericho; any thoughts why God allowed the Israelites to take plunder from Ai and not from Jericho??
There may be at least 3 reasons why God would allow plunder from Ai and not from Jericho:
a. God taught a lesson to all about sin in Jericho!
b. God must know that the Israelites would still covet and gave them grace to take plunder from Ai!
c. Material things are not evil by themselves!
We will finish Joshua 8 next week; let us summarize what we should apply to our lives from our passage this morning.
First of all we need to remind ourselves,
1. Cleanse our hearts of sin on a regular basis (apply 1 John 1:9 in the Name of Jesus Christ!)
2. Always listen to God’s Word for life’s instructions!
3. Pray before taking action because we cannot be successful in life without God’s help! Remember, God sees and hears everything!
4. Give thanks for all material blessings! Apply 1 Timothy 6:10…..