Summary: The failure at Ai

The Power of Secret Sin

The failure at Ai - Joshua 7

A man purchased a white mouse to use as food for his pet snake. He dropped the unsuspecting mouse into the snake’s glass cage, where the snake was sleeping in a bed of sawdust. The tiny mouse had a serious problem on his hands. At any moment he could be swallowed alive. The mouse needed to come up with a brilliant plan. What did the terrified creature do? He quickly set up work covering the snake with sawdust chips until it was completely buried. With that, the mouse apparently thought he had solved his problem. The solution however came from outside. The man took pity on the silly little mouse and removed him from the cage. No matter how hard we try to cover or deny our sinful nature, it’s fool’s work. Sin will eventually awake from sleep and shake off its cover. Were it not for the saving grace of the Master’s hand, sin would eat us alive.

Secret sin

The fact is most if not all of us have a secret sin.

There are many secret sins we all face.

The problem is we try to cover up these sins like that mouse.

But they are always there ready to pounce.

Psalm 66:18 warns us of one consequence of secret sin.

“If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me”

In other words if you have a cherished secret sin that you habitually hold on to, it will hurt your prayer life.

This morning lets look at the very tragic story about a certain secret sin and it’s dire consequences.

1. But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel. 2. And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. 3. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. 4. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. 5. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.

A little background on this

In previous chapter we learn of the mighty defeat of Jericho

We all know the story

Israel marched around once a day, 6 days, 7th,- 7 times

Priests blow the trumpet, people shout

And the walls came tumbling’ down

All the inhabitants of Jericho were killed ,except Rahab and family.

So at this point in time Israel was flying high

Strutting around proud of their victory at Jericho

The fall of Jericho was followed by the temporary fall of Israel.

This shows us a powerful lesson that we need to beware of the dangers of success.

The seed of pride and self-confidence is often sown in the joyful but unguarded hour of victory

Or amidst the dangerous applause of men.

We can examine two revealing thoughts in this passage.

I. The Shameful Defeat of Israel, or

the believer’s doom

The defeat was

A. Unexpected

What did they say in verse 3?

“let not all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are few.”

We don’t need to waste our strength, there’s not many over there 2 or 3 thousand will be plenty

Kind of boastful isn’t it?

We read later that “few” here means about 12,000 that’s 4 times larger army

Yeah they were full of pride.

They were very confident of success

But very ignorant of their own condition in the sight of God

Confidence and earnestness in a Christian worker will never stand in the stead of holiness.

And there is a big difference between confidence and arrogance.

It doesn’t matter how confident and earnest you are as you work for the Lord

If you are not truly following His will.

Israel was basing this confidence on their victory over Jericho

The victory that God had given them

Joshua 6:2 says “And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho.”

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