Failure > Confession > God’s Victory

This year at Faith West we are studying the books of Joshua and Judges in a series called, Everyone Did Right in Their Own Eyes.  It is going to be incredible to see the contrast between a leader like Joshua who was faithful to the Lord and the people who were seeking their own desires.  It is our hope that by giving you the basic outline of the lesson you can follow up with your teens to see what they have learned and to help them apply those truths in their life.

Joshua 7-8


So last week we saw another example of things going well.  The Israelites had come out of the wilderness after wandering for 40 years, they had crossed the raging Jordan river, they passed the test of having all their men circumcised in enemy territory, they had followed the command to march around the city 1 time a day, and they watched the walls come down as they screamed in the Lord’s name.

Surely if there would be any motivation to follow God and to be fully committed to what God says then now would be the time.

I.          Defeated in the Promised Land (Joshua 7)

A.        We got this one (7:2-3)

1.         Joshua sent his scouts to look over the city and things looked very easy.

2.         In fact they were coming up against a tiny little city named AI.  ““Ai” means “a ruins.” In Hebrew it is always accompanied by the define article: “the ruins.” This may not have been the name of the city, since it is a term that could be applied to any ruins. To specify which Ai, or ruins, is meant, the text states that it was near Bethel (cf. 12:9). (For the archaeological problems associated with Ai, see the Introduction, p. 248.)”[1]

3.         The total population of Ai was estimated to be only about twelve thousand men and women (8:25). Keil and Delitzsch (p. 77) conclude that a city of this size would be able to muster fewer than three thousand warriors. With armies of equal size, the defenders inside the city walls would have a considerable advantage. The confidence of the spies was inspired by their memory of Israel’s great victory over Jericho and of God’s intervention. Though it was only about fifteen miles from Jericho to Ai, the great difference in elevation (Jericho: 800 ft. below sea level; Ai: 2,500 ft. above) made this journey a rigorous climb.[2]

B.        Defeated by the men of AI. (4-5)

1.         The soldiers went up to AI

a.         Cities were built up on hills (called tells).

b.         In order to overtake a city up on a hill you had to have a plan because you were at the disadvantage by being downhill from them.

1.         They took only 3,000 men

a.         Probably their best warriors.

b.         Why wouldn’t they win?  They were matching the size of the army of AI and they just destroyed Jericho without even fighting.

3.         AI killed 36 of the fighting men

a.         Now there was chaos and the men were fleeing

b.         The people’s hearts melted like water.

C.        Joshua is disheartened (6-9)

1.         Joshua is in anguish and tore his clothes and put dust on his head.

a.         A sign of mourning

b.         At the end of mourning they would clean up and put on new clothes.

c.         He was arguing with God.

2.         Joshua begins to question God’s way

a.         Why didn’t we just stay on the other side of the Jordan River?

b.         Why would you bring us out here just to destroy us?  Sound familiar?

3.         Joshua thought he had lost the leadership of the Israelites

a.         Why will they follow a leader who loses war?

4.         Joshua the Canaanites will no longer fear them.

D.        God knows the problem (10-15)

1.         God knew the problem in the camp was that someone had directly disobeyed God.

2.         God knew that unless this sin was taken care of the Israelites would not win the battle.

3.         God told Joshua what to do.

a.         Tell the people to consecrate themselves

b.         Come before Joshua tribe by tribe

c.         Then clan by clan

d.         Then family by family

e.         Then man by man

E.         The problem is discovered (16-26)

1.         Achan is found to be the one who had the stuff from Jericho.

a.         Can you imagine being Achan as it is slowly revealed that it was you?

2.         Achan was told to glorify God by confessing his sin.

b.         How does confession glorify God?

3.         Achan was stoned for the damage he caused to the Israelites.

a.         Almost like he had murdered the 36 soldiers who had died.

4.         Achan’s sin resulted in 36 deaths, how could our sin affect others?

II.        Victory over AI (8:1-29)

A.        Notice the difference in the attack plans between chapter 7 and chapter 8.

1.         What attitude difference is there?

2.         Whose plan did they follow?

B.        So there are now 2 mounds of rocks in these 2 chapters.  The first is over Achan (7:26) and the second is over the King of AI (8:29).  What would the Israelites think every time they saw these stones?

III.       Commitment to the Law (30-35)

A.        Joshua built an altar to the Lord.

B.        They made a sacrifice to the Lord.

C.        Joshua read the whole law to the Children of Israel.

1.         Why do you think he needed to do this?

D.        Your sin is very real and you must deal with it.  It can have an effect on a whole lot of people.  Are you keeping a short account with God for your sins?  Are you reading God’s Word to remind you how to live?

[1] Donald H. Madvig, “Joshua” In , in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 3: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 283.

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[2] Donald H. Madvig, “Joshua” In , in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 3: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 284.

Johnny Kjaer
Johnny Kjaer oversees the Youth Ministries at Faith Church. He can often be found serving the community with the teenagers. His passion is to assist parents in training their teens to love the Lord. He and his wife, Tori, have four children; Leif, Tryggve, Kjirsti, and Hroarr.