The first city Israel faced in the Promised Land was Jericho.
The Lord gave His leader, Joshua, unusual instructions for laying siege to the city. Joshua was told to have Israel’s army quietly march around Jericho with seven priests blowing trumpets one time each day for six days. On the seventh day, the warriors and the priests marched seven times around the city and then the warriors shouted.
Joshua sent scouts to check out Ai. The scouts returned and said, “Ai is a puny, insignificant city compared to Jericho. Just send two or three thousand warriors to attack it.”
Joshua listened to the scouts and sent 3,000 soldiers against Ai. The Israelites were soundly defeated and 36 men were killed.
Now, came the big test for Israel’s new leader, Joshua. What should he do?
After all, Israel had an army of three hundred thousand fighting men. Joshua could have depended solely on Israel’s numerical strength and sent them all against Ai, hoping to crush them.
Or he could have sent a different scouting party to Ai. Maybe the first group of scouts overlooked something.
Joshua chose neither of these options, but instead, he humbled himself in prayer and fasting, seeking the Lord’s answer for Israel’s defeat by Ai. Joshua was determined to do nothing this time until he heard the Lord’s voice.
What did the Lord eventually tell Joshua?
Israel has sinned…Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies… (Joshua 7:11-12)
The sin in Israel had to be identified and handled in an extreme manner to ready it for future battles. You see, God hated Israel’s sin and would not be a partner with it.
What can we American Christians learn from this example?
(Continued in Part 9…if you are interested, the full series, which was written in 2014, may be seen here.)