Joshua and the children of Israel are back in good standing with God. It is time to move further into the Promised Land. Ai is back on the agenda for conquest.
This campaign is TOTALLY different from the last one. First of all, Joshua doesn’t rely on spies to make his battle plan. God gives him the battle plan instead. From what I read, it looks like Joshua didn’t even attempt to plan Ai’s demise until God told him to go. What a difference that made!
God is an AMAZING tactician! He knows how to win a battle and He had already proved it at Jericho. He included a miracle there along with psychological warfare. At Ai he uses subterfuge and Ai’s hubris to defeat them. The overwhelming numbers of Israel didn’t hurt their campaign either.
Warfare in bible days was straight forward. You had men on either side of a ‘battle field’ and they would meet in the middle to hack it out. That was the standard procedure. God deviated from that plan by telling Joshua to set up and ambush from behind the city. Joshua liked this idea so much that he set a second ambush.
Did you notice that the ambush behind the city had TEN TIMES more men than in the first campaign? Joshua had all these men at his disposal, he might as well use them. His second ambush was not nearly as numerous but it also had more men than the first campaign.
I would venture to say that the whole camp moved closer to Ai this time too. Joshua and the elders were with the people at one point then Joshua went to the valley where battle was supposed to happen. Having the camp nearby made it easier on the soldiers. They didn’t have to pack in their provisions and were fresh instead of road weary.
Two other things struck me about this battle. The first is that if Joshua would have sought the Lord before sending in troops the first time he would have realized there was a problem. The second thing is that if Israel hadn’t have fled before Ai the first time they wouldn’t have been so embolden to bring out EVERYONE to chase them again.
These two events set the stage for the conquest that happened this time. God doesn’t let ANY lesson go to waste. God was trying to teach Israel to rely on Him and wait on Him. For this day they learned that lesson. But Israel is a lot like me in the hard headed division. We encounter this same lesson in the near future.
How would history look now if Israel had learned that lesson before their first encounter with Ai? Did they need that defeat to keep them humble and relying on God?
How many times do I forge ahead and forget to wait or even ask God for His input? When He opens a door for me do I charge ahead, blazing a wide path over anything that stands in my way or do I go in with caution at every step? Or is there a third option? Walking in with confidence and prayerfulness. This would be stepping into the new opportunities that are presented AFTER consulting with Him. “God, is this from You to bless me, from the enemy to destroy me, something to distract me, or something to do during the waiting?” Not every option is bad and not every option is good. For me, there seems to be a lot of living in the ‘something to do during the waiting’ list. I wish I was more adept at knowing the difference between all the options. AND there is always the “rescued from disaster” category that Israel met with today and I meet with more times than I care to count.
Father God, thank You for all the lessons You teach me in my life. I know I have a ‘patience challenge’. Waiting is not my strong suit. You have brought me a LONG WAY from where I started but I still have a LOT of growing to do. Forgive me for all the times I rush ahead without checking with You first. I realize I’ve done it again with my blog. I was noticing changes in my life that are going to impact my ‘bottom line’ and when this latest opportunity surfaced it seemed like an answer to prayer. Prayers I hadn’t even voiced yet. I sought my husband’s counsel, which is more than I did the last time, and followed his direction. But I didn’t seek Yours. I simply assumed it was from You. I’m PRAYING I won’t be learning another hard lesson. You know my needs. You know my fears. And You know my heart. I’m trusting You to lead me through all of this to exactly where You want me to be. Please give me my ‘battle plan’ Lord. Help me to listen.