Summary: Turning our victories in Jesus into defeat

Turning Victory into Defeat

Joshua 7:1-5


In the open chapters of Joshua, the Children of Israel finely crossed Jordan into the promise land. They had a resounding victory at Jericho. (Joshua 6) You know the story. They followed God’s instructions and the walls came tumbling down. However, a few days later when part of the army marched on to Ai, they were defeated by this small city and lost thirty-six men. What happened? How were they able to turn such a great victory into defeat so quickly? What mistakes did they make?

I fear that we just like the children of Israel, the Church and individual Christians are turning the great victories we have in Jesus into defeat. We are living defeated lives because we make the same mistakes they made. We would do well to learn from their mistakes. Although their defeat was a direct result of Achan’s sin. (Joshua 7:1b) The text reveals at least three mistakes that enabled them to turn their great victory into defeat.

1. They overestimated the wisdom of men.

There is an awful lot in these verses about what the spies said, (Josh. 7:3 a) but there is no reference at all to what God had to say. No doubt these men were generals in Joshua’s army and were the so-called experts in battle. Sadly, Joshua listened to the suggestions of these spies without consulting God. Later, when God gave the orders to Joshua, He told him” Take the whole army.” (Joshua 8:1)

I hear an awful lot these days about what the experts say. We live in a day of experts. We have experts for everything. Two doctors were talking, one said I’m a nose expert the other one said which nostril. We even have experts to tell us what kind of expert we need. Folks you need to understand that just because someone gets their name on the cover of a book doesn’t make them an expert. We had a man come the Baptist Children’s Home to teach us house parents how to raise children. Later we learned that he had been married three times and never had any children.

Everybody seems to be familiar with what the experts say. I can’t help but wonder does anybody in our day know what God has to say.” Frankly, I could care less about what Dr. Right and Dr. Know-it-all has to say. I’m fed up to here with what the experts have to say. Take my word for it today is not the day to talk to me about what the experts say.” (Dr. Joe Brown) We’ve got these so-called experts telling us how to live our lives and raise our children, and they wouldn’t know the Lord if they were to meet Him in a closet. Listen to the old man, before you read a book, know something about the author. Experts are just leeks with all the pressure taken off.

You understand I am in a battle. It’s a battle for my influence, for my home, for my children, my grandchildren, my country, and for my world. I want to hear from the commander in chief. I want to know what God wants. We need some pastors and preachers who will stand up in the pulpits across this nation and declare, “Thus Saith the Lord” I want to be one of them.

2. They underestimated the strength of the enemy.

Though smaller than Jericho, Ai was well fortified and her soldiers well entrenched. Israel was guilty of underestimating the strength of her enemy and of overestimating her own strength. They said don’t send the whole army up to Ai, two or three thousand men will be enough. (Josh 7:3b) They did not understand how strong and determined this little city was. The city of Jericho was no match for God, but when Israel went up against Ai in their own strength, they were defeated

Folks, please don’t underestimate the strength of our enemy, satan. One of the most dangerous statements we make is, “it can’t happen to me”. This little village of Ai there’s no way they can defeat the army of God. But they did. The Bible says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor. 10: 12) Yesterday’s victory does not make a believer immune from defeat today. He must continually depend on the Lord for strength. Speaking of a Christian’s conflict with evil Paul wrote,

” Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. “(Eph 6:10 ) Satan is no match for our God, but he is always a lot more than we can handle

The Bible says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:” (John 10:10). The thief that Jesus was talking about of course is the devil. In another place the scripture says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5: 8) one reason lions roar is to let the other animals know this is their territory. Make no mistake about it the world is the devil’s territory. The Bible called him” the prince of power of the air.” (Eph.2:2) He is determined to destroy our joy and our influence for the Kingdom. The devil is not out to make you happy. He wants to destroy you. Never underestimate the purpose or the strength of the enemy.

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