Summary: Just because we make mistakes does not mean that God is finished with us. A message about second chances.
THE GOD OF A SECOND CHANCE
INTRO: How would you feel if you were Joshua? On the heels of a great victory came an embarrassing defeat. His army had over 3,000 mighty soldiers. The men of Ai sent them running killing 36 of them. From our vantage point, we can see why they were routed. The battle strategy was theirs, not God’s. There was sin in the camp.
How would you feel if you were Joshua? The Bible says he was afraid and discouraged. That’s probably how I would feel, too! What should he do now? Retreat back across the river? Settle at Gilgal? Attack again? Skip Ai and attack another city? God didn’t leave him wondering long.
I. FAILURE IS NOT FINAL (vs. 1).
Israel had sinned, but God give her a second chance. Those guilty of sin had already been dealt with (7:24-25). Now Israel has a second chance to defeat Ai. Their failure was not final!
Neither do our failures need to be final. The true character of a person is seen in how defeats are handled. Joshua and Israel did not turn away from God. Joshua teaches us to bring our failures, mistakes, doubts to God.
You may feel defeated today. Just remember, many of God’s people have had to overcome defeat to gain victory. All of the following were chosen by God for a special task.
a. Abraham (lying) b. Samson (women) c. Peter (arrogance) d. John Mark (quitting)
e. David (Bethsheba)
f. Jonah (running from God)
g. Elijah (self-pity)
God will give you a second chance (1 John 1:9).
a. over alcohol
b. over sexual sins
c. over poor example
d. over divorce
e. over greed
f. over gossip
g. over selfishness
h. over poor decision
i. over everything
II. THE SINNER’S TRIUMPH IS ONLY TEMPORARY (vss. 2-29).
The sinners’ triumph is only temporary. Ai had done what no one else had been able to do...defeat of Israel. They must have been celebrating. Thought they had it made.
All this time God is saying "Ai is yours...take them by ambush."
Many people think they have it made. They have prosperity and success...they celebrate their accomplishments. Yet God says an ambush is coming.
III. THE DEFEAT OF AI.
This time Israel listened to God. Their sin had been discovered and removed. Their arrogance had been shattered. God’s plan was different than at Jericho. Jericho was a sheer demonstration of His power. Ai was more a miliary strategy. God does not always have to do things in the same way.
Ai is a picture of what God is going to do to the devil and his workers.
CONC: The lessons of the defeat of Ai are clear. To the people of God failure is not final. To the ungodly an ambush is coming. Which of these messages is directed to you?