Summary: Achan had sinned, Israel had been defeated, but now confession and repentance had come. God’s blessings came back and a great victory was won. Let’s learn a lesson in the church today.
REPENTANCE BRINGS THE VICTORY
By Pastor Jim May
In the last message titled “The Accursed Thing”, we left Israel licking it’s wounds after having been soundly defeated by the army of Ai. Because Achan had taken the “accursed thing” into the camp of Israel, God’s judgment feel upon all the people. Then Achan and his family paid the price for Achan’s sin and they were all executed by God’s command.
So much for those who say that capital punishment isn’t necessary. If Almighty God, the Giver of Life, says that a man should die for his sin, who are we to argue with God? I believe that capital punishment, the death penalty, is the only justice that some people deserve because their sin and crime against humanity is so great.
As soon as the sin was confessed and God’s justice had been obeyed, there was an immediate reversal of the judgments of God that had come against Israel. Now the Children of Israel could walk forward into the Promised Land once again with the blessings of God leading the way. It had been a hard lesson learned and this time they would hear what God was telling them to do.
Joshua 8:1, "And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:"
What a difference confession and repentance makes! What a difference it makes when we enter into battle with the devil with the Lord leading the way!
The result of this battle was already determined. Israel was going to win, if they would just follow directions this time. Victory is what happens when we allow the Lord to fight our battles. God’s battle plan is flawless and the enemy cannot overcome it. I’m so very glad that I’m a part of the Lord’s army, aren’t you?
Some of you have driven out the sin in your life and now you are almost looking forward to the next battle because you know that the Lord is with you in a way that He has never been before. You can sense His presence and you know that the Holy Ghost is leading the way.
It is amazing to me that God will use an enemy to teach us a lesson and shake us into reality and then turn around and use us to defeat that same enemy.
Ai was still there. It was still a small city with a fairly small army, but the people of Ai had grown self-confident. After all, they had withstood and defeated the army of Israel when a much larger city, Jericho, had fallen. I can just imagine the celebration that broke out when Achan’s band had been ran from the battlefield in defeat.
Let me tell you how confident the enemy gets sometimes when he knows he has already won the first round.
3500 years ago, about the time of Joshua’s invasion of Canaan, all of the cities were walled as a defense against attack. Those who lived in the city would be able to survive for long periods of time because they had stored up weapons, food and water, while the enemy outside the city often had to survive on what they could carry. If they could outlast the enemy who had laid siege to the city, the battle would be won without firing a single arrow.
Ai had its walls and its army. They couldn’t have won even if they had stayed behind the walls, because God could bring the wall down as He had done at Jericho. But in the battle to come, the men of Ai were so confident that they could defeat Israel again that they came out of the city and left the gates to the city wide open.
Joshua 8:14-17, "And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city. And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness. And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city. And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel."
Here was God’s battle plan. Joshua sent 5,000 men to hide in the hills on the west side of Ai. Then he sent 30,000 more to hide in the hills beyond the city. Then Joshua came against the city with a smaller army from the front. God was setting up the King of Ai in an ambush. It wouldn’t be long until the trap was sprung.