Joshua 8:1-29 – What an Ambush!

Read Joshua 8:1-29

tiger hiding in the weeds

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! I remember telling my younger self that a time or two. We shouldn’t let one defeat stop us from pursuing our dream. If Thomas Edison had given up before the 10,000th try, somebody else would have invented the incandescent lightbulb. For Joshua and his crew, it was the second attempt at conquering Ai that worked.

It worked because God was leading the way. What we read in this passage is God’s instructions. When carried out according to God’s plan, they succeeded. We can take the assurance from this example that when we follow God’s plan or when he blesses our plans, we will have success. Sometimes there is learning to be done along the way. The journey to success can be long and winding, like it was for Edison and other great inventors.

This is the second battle we read about in Joshua. The first, of course, was Jericho. The tactics God had his men use to defeat that city were different than those employed in the destruction of Ai. The Israelites were also allowed to keep the plunder this time. What this says to me is that God will use the “best” plan for each situation. We need to be listening for God’s instructions at all times.

I sometimes struggle with all the killing that goes on in the Bible. I find myself wanting to just skim over these readings and not think about all the innocent lives that were taken that day. Perhaps innocent is not the right word to describe these people. They weren’t God’s chosen people, and they were in the way of God fulfilling his promise. In essence, they were in the right place at the wrong time. It would seem these people, not being his followers, were expendable. Still, that troubles me.

It may also seem like overkill to send 30,000 troops to take over a town of 12,000 people. God knew that after their defeat, many, including Joshua, needed a boost of encouragement. To take part in a victory is better than just watching it happen. What kind of encouragement are you needing? What battles are you facing that you want victory over?

Let’s pray … Lord, thank you for how you provide for your people. You know what’s best for us before we do. Thank you for your mighty wisdom and works displayed in this story. Please fill me with the courage to face my battles knowing you are there beside me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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