Inhabiting The Promised Life as A Disciple of the Biblical Christ

As followers of Christ do we need some kind of explanation for miracles like this? (Old NASA Rumor) Slowing of Earth’s rotation? Earth wobbling on it’s axis? Some form of bending light? Did we require a explanation for God parting the Jordan river… or for that matter the Red Sea? Perhaps nothing physically changed yet God made everyone in the area He divided out see the sun and moon stand still…

We’re not going to learn how this miracle happened…we will learn some other things. We will learn about sacrificial integrity, displayed by Joshua. We will learn how doing the right thing puts you into partnership with God. What that looks like is believing what God tells you SO MUCH that you ask Him to do something only HE can do. This moment of partnership between God and Joshua is unparalleled / unprecedented.

As His people we are all called to that kind of partnership, not on this scale, but in ways that can have eternal impact. Our integrity and obedience opens our eyes to what God is doing all around HIM! Then it is partnership time, true partnership with God! To HIS glory!

Joshua 10:1-15

Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon had made a treaty of peace with Israel and had become their allies. 2 He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters.

  • Word travels fast in the land of Canaan
  • The alliance that was formed just weeks ago is called into action
  • Notice that the guy who leads this fight is The King of Jerusalem
  • Jerusalem is closest to Gibeon (driven by fear)

3 So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon. 4 “Come up and help me attack Gibeon,” he said, “because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.” 5 Then the five kings of the Amorites—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon—joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it.

  • This King calls himself: ‘Lord of Righteousness’
  • The word ‘Gibeonite’ means ‘Good Fighter’ V2 (Provide a local advantage)
  • Better to eliminate them before they can help the Israelites
  • They basically laid siege to the city, surrounded it
  • It is to the Israelites advantage to get them all out in the open country
  • This is God working… He is always at work

6 The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us.” 7 So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. 8 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”

  • Joshua could have said: ‘This will take care of my Gibeonite problem’
  • His honoring his oath, his integrity, was not dependent on what the others did
  • Honoring His oath was not determined based on what the outcome would be
  • He got the army ready to go and his integrity is rewarded with partnership
  • God tells Him what HE is going to do: HE will eliminate them ALL

9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10 The Lord threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

  • 15 miles from Gilgal to Gibeon, march at about 3 miles and hour (5 hour march)
  • They show up at 3am and it is mass confusion
  • The Amorites are routed and begin to retreat, they don’t retreat to Jerusalem
  • They go west then south through the valley
  • The route described covers about 20 miles!

11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.

  • All 5 Kings and their men retreat down a thoroughfare
  • As they run away the Amorites are pelted with big hail (softball size?)

12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”

  • Time sequence: Joshua likely said this as the pursuit began
  • The Amorites worshiped the Sun and the Moon as Gods
  • Joshua (& Yahweh) wanted to display HIS power over their deities
  • ‘The Ultimate Demoralizer’

13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.

  • Gibeon is sworn ally so in essence the 5 Kings attacked Israel (avenged)
  • Book of Jashar (Book of The Just Ones) Citing another source that recorded it
  • If God wanted us to have this book He would have preserved it
  • Net effect: another day (12 hours) of light by which to mop up the Amorites
  • The Israelites were partners, not just servants. God fought for AND with them

14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel! 15 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.

  • This is how Joshua was allowed by God to perceive the event
  • Human perspective, divinely guided to communicate exactly what God wants

The Book Experiencing God: How I started living 22 years ago

Love relationship > Obedience > God Speaks > Join Him (adjustment in your life)

Miracles rest on testimony, not on scientific analyses. While it is interesting to speculate on how God might have performed any particular Biblical miracle, including Joshua’s long day, ultimately those claiming to be disciples of Jesus Christ (who authenticated the divine record of the Bible) must accept them, by faith.” ~ Russell Grigg


Joshua is an example to us in how He honors his word displaying ‘Non-Situation Driven Integrity’: Doing the right thing no matter what!

God was at work getting the Amorite Kings to attack, Joshua’s obedience puts him in a place to work hand in hand with God, a place of joining God where He is working as His partner.

The miracles recorded here do not require an explanation for those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ. The ‘Self Existent’ All-Sovereign Lord of The Universe can manipulate, create, replicate, impersonate or make anyone see, hear and think whatever HE wants…If HE is who Scripture says HE is.

There is a place of partnership with God that we can experience through our integrity and obedience where we are so in-sync with God that HIS will becomes ours: ‘Flow’.

Joshua asked God to do exactly what God want to do: ‘He listened to a human’.


Do you believe in ‘Situational Ethics’? If so how does that ‘World View’ correspond to the message of Scripture in general and today’s passage in particular?

Where might God be working around YOU? Is there something you need to change in your life in order to join HIM in that work?

How comfortable are you with the idea that miracles are left unexplained? Are you waiting on an explanation before you really believe?


‘Practical Principles’ are found in the proper reading of Scripture. We use those to develop ‘Practical Patterns’ of lifestyle that consist of specific ‘Practical Practices’ we do, not just talk about.


As Christ’s Body, when we walk with God in obedience and integrity, it puts us in a position to join HIM in HIS work. This means practicing basic, daily things that Scripture clearly calls us to do and be; developing a lifestyle of doing the right thing no matter the situation.

As Christ’s People we are not to evaluate God based on our circumstances!

Elisha & Resurrection Power

II Kings 4:8-37

“One day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a prominent woman lived…..she said to her husband, ‘behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God who is continually passing our way. Let us make a small room for him so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there.'” (v.8-9)

“One day he came there, turned into the chamber and rested there…..he said, ‘you have taken all this trouble for us; what is to be done for you?’….she answered, ‘I dwell among my own people’…..and he said, ‘about this time next year, you shall embrace a son’…..the woman conceived, and she bore a son, as Elisha had said to her.” (v.11-17)

“When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. And he said to his father, ‘oh my head, my head!’ The father said to his servant, ‘carry him to his mother’….the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died.” (v.18-20)

“She called her husband and said, ‘send me one of the servants, and one of the donkeys, that I may quickly go to the man of God and come again’. And he said, ‘why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon or Sabbath.’ She said, ‘all is well’….so she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.” (v.22-25a)

“When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, ‘look, there is the Shunammite. Run at once to meet her and say to her, is all with with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?’ And she answered, ‘all is well.'” (v.25b-26)

“Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. Therefore he returned to meet him and told him, ‘the child has not awakened.’ When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. So he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the Lord….” (v.31-32)

“Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth to his mouth, his eyes to his eyes, and his hands on his hands……the flesh of the child became warm…..the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.” (v.34-35)


– We do what we do because we are what we are.

– Be discerning with God’s people, supportive, encouraging, serving, and praying.

– Don’t judge the Lord based on your present, difficult circumstances. Your conclusions about Him will be wrong.

Seeking God As A Regular Practice

This world is full of messages and information that are deceptive and the deception is evil and destructive. In order to not be deceived by this world you must have 2 things: God’s Spirit within you AND the practice of seeking Him for EVERYTHING! God’s Presence is the only source of true discernment. Only HE knows the whole story, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

As the nation of Israel began to conquer and inhabit the promised land, they had the presence of Yahweh in their midst, God chose to inhabit their community. Now that Christ has come the 1st time…The Holy Spirit indwells believers, resulting in the presence of God inhabiting their community, OUR Community! God gives us His presence but He does not force His guidance on us, He wants us to ask for it. He is the ‘Ultimate Gentleman’.

One of the biggest problems in discerning what is really true is we have to overcome our pride, we think we know the deal…Far too often we believe we know what the truth is so we stop inquiring and processing information. The practice of remaining curious, humbly realizing that we don’t have all the information is a way we guard against pride that leads to deception.

The Nation of Israel had seen what happens when they seek God and are led by Him, and they had seen how thing go when they try it their way, in this text we see how a complacency and lack of seeking God goes.

Joshua 9

1 Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things—the kings in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites) — 2 they came together to wage war against Joshua and Israel.

  • They heard about these things, the annihilation of Ai
  • They convened a War Council, they made a pact (common enemy)

3 However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. 5 They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy.

  • Gibeon was closest to where the Israelites were
  • They had the best information, and chose to try something other than fighting
  • They crafted a deception…

6 Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.” 7 The Israelites said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?” 8 “We are your servants,” they said to Joshua. But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

  • They presented themselves and asked for a peace treaty
  • The Israelites were suspicious and questioning

9 They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth.”

  • Claiming to be their servants because they have heard about their God
  • They are careful to not include anything that has happened in the last month

11 “Our elders and all those living in our country said to us, Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, ‘We are your servants; make a treaty with us.”’ 12 “This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”

  • A compelling tale that makes the Israelites think they are from a great distance
  • They accept the info with further inquiry

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

  • After hearing their story they looked at the evidence the Gibeonites offered
  • They perhaps tasted and smelled their foodstuffs
  • Joshua made peace & oaths were sworn based on a story and moldy bread
  • The evidence was real but it was without true context (the context was a lie)
  • Without the proper context, information can be deceiving…

16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the Lord, the God of Israel.

  • It only took three day to find out they had been duped
  • Perhaps they had gone on a couple of scouting missions, talked to other locals

The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the Lord, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.” 21 They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.

  • The people wanted to attack but the leaders feared God because of their oath
  • Since they could not make war against them they enslaved them
  • They were to cut & haul wood and carry water (constant, hard work)
  • They were allowed to live but as slaves

22 Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you deceive us by saying, ‘We live a long way from you,’ while actually you live near us? 23 You are now under a curse: You will never be released from service as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”

  • Why would you do this and be enslaved?
  • Joshua pronounces a curse on them
  • They will be servants of the temple / tent of meeting / altar of sacrifice

24 They answered Joshua, “Your servants were clearly told how the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. 25 We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you.”

  • They recognized the reality of who God was & how He was leading His people
  • They figured their best chance was to fool them not fight them

26 So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them. 27 That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the assembly, to provide for the needs of the altar of the Lord at the place the Lord would choose. And that is what they are to this day.

  • Joshua would not sacrifice His integrity to please the people
  • He found a solution that let the Israelite honor their oath and further God’s plan
  • God held the Israelites to their oath, (Saul broke it and was punished)


The inhabitants of Canaan / The Promised Land recognize the threat the Israelite represent and they reacted in two ways: some cities band together to fight and one smaller group create an elaborate deception to escape destruction.

The Gibeonites presented information and evidence to the Israelites that was not what it appeared to be. Facts out of context are in essence lies and deception. Deception is aided by pride because instead of questioning assumptions are made.

God’s people looked at what the world presented as the truth and did not consult the author of all truth to discern truth from lie. A lack of routine practice of seeking God resulted in them being deceived.

God’s people , led by Joshua, displayed integrity and feared God after being deceived by not going back on their oath and taking ownership of their foolishness.

The Gibeonites were saved from the just wrath of Yahweh because in their own way they honored Him and recognized his absolute sovereignty. Their destiny would be to serve the Israelite’s worship of God.


When faced with a hard situation do you look to fight or attempt deception to overcome obstacles?

How curious are you regarding the information you see about the world around you? What do you use as a guide to process that information?

How do you regularly inquire of God? What does your practice look like?

When you have made bad decisions who do you blame and why?


God’s people should be aware of the deceptiveness of the information the world is giving them and guided by Scripture we are to practice regularly seeking God’s guidance rather than when we are unsure.

The Biblical Practice of Relational Renewal

Recap of the book of Joshua up to now:

Moses dies, Joshua is to lead into the promised land / They untie and share in sacrifice / Rahab and the spies model active faith / God brings them across the Joran by miracle / They take time to memorialize that event / God deepens the connection with His people / The miracle at Jericho teaches them devotion / disobedience effects the whole community / Sin is dealt with and the forgiven community is victorious…now what?

Now the Israelites will be led by God to renew their covenant relationship with Him, together as a nation. This event is meant to connect the nation back to the 2nd giving of the law in Deuteronomy 5-28 (Covenant Renewal…AGAIN)

The Place: Shechem. Abraham was there, Jacob’s Ladder & Well, Samaritan Woman & Jesus. It is a place where revelation and relational renewal has happened. Relational Renewal is a principal God wants His people to practice! We need renewal, it is not an option, it is commanded, demonstrated, ritualized and practiced… Practice is the key part: you can talk about renewing your relationship with God but it actuality requires intentional practice.

Ch. 8:30-35

30 At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, 31 just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the people of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, “an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.”

  • 1st thing (one they got there) was to build an altar
  • This was part of what had been commanded for them to do in Deuteronomy 27
  • Uncut stones: all of the previous alters by Abraham, Issac & Jacob
  • Use of uncut stones differentiated Yahweh’s alters from Canaanite altars

And when you have crossed the Jordan, set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I command you today, and coat them with plaster. Build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. Do not use any iron tool on them. Build the altar of the Lord your God with field stones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. Sacrifice fellowship offerings there, eating them and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord your God. And you shall write very clearly all the words of this law on these stones you have set up.” ~ Deuteronomy 27:4-8

  • Very Specific instructions for the Altar and the Stones to display the Law

And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written.

Artist rendering of the Altar on Mt. Ebal built by Joshua
  • They sacrificed, it cost them something…time to build and then animals
  • They were plastered stones on the alter with the Ten Commandments on them

33 And all Israel, sojourner as well as native born, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded at the first, to bless the people of Israel.

  • The entire nation was gathered, just like us they need to be together
  • Six tribes on either side is symbolic that we all can be on either side
  • Natural amphitheater makes it so from Shechem you can hear on both mounts
  • We saw a part of what was commanded in Deuteronomy
  • This ceremony of renewing the Covenant was ‘To Bless The People’
Shechem from a distance, nestled between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim

34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.

  • What makes sense is that he read from Deuteronomy 5 through 28
  • Beginning with the ten commandments through the blessing and curse
  • All that Moses commanded is recapped in Moses ‘Farewell Address’
  • The whole assembly, gather around God’s Presence (Ark) and God’s Word
  • Everyone was included (Rahab’ Family)

The last thing read was the Blessings and Curses.

Curses & Blessings:

Curses for: Making Idols / Dishonoring Parents / Moving Land Markers / Oppressing The Marginalized / Sex with Animals / Sex with Relatives / Secret & Paid Killing

‘Not Carrying Out The Whole Law’

Blessings for Obedience: City / Country / Offspring / Crops / Land / livestock / Food Preparation / Defeat of Enemies /Status / Buildings / Favorable Weather

‘Total Prosperity’

This provides no place to just be ‘Good’ or not as bad as that guy… There is no 3rd place! C.S. Lewis said: “There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by satan.” It is a call to: ‘Be perfect as our Father is Perfect’, a call to surrender your life to Christ…the only way to be perfect!


The renewal of the covenant relationship with God requires sacrifice. The sacrifice we have the privilege of making is laying down our lives for Christ and the Gospel.

God Unifies His people around The Scriptures, the centrality of it in our lives gives us our ‘Cultural Identity’ and surrounds us with blessings.

There is no spiritual neutrality…our relationship with God is either one of blessings or of curses. For the Israelites it was surrender to God’s ways…for us it is the same.

God desires His people to hear His word together and be accountable to each other for obedience to it.


Have you intentionally renewed your relationship with Christ on a regular basis? Why or why not?

What sacrifices do you make and will you make to honor God in your life?

How can you get God’s Word into a more central and prominent place your life?

Do you consider your relationship with God to be communal or individual?


God wants our relationship with Him to be regularly renewed and reinvigorated, honoring Him means intentionally practicing aspects of rededication.

2nd battle of Ai (Diagram Below)

Todays passage is what is know as the second battle of Ai. The first battle wasn’t much a of a battle…This time the nation of Israel is victorious, first and foremost because they are once again rightly related to Yahweh, having dealt with the disobedience of Achen.

This battle is won by God inspired leadership, God given creativity in the planning and then God fearing obedience by all of the troops in Joshua’s Army. There is no great miracle; no stopping a river or turning city walls to rubble, just excellent military planning and execution.

We see how when God’s people are untied under Him as a forgiven community of leaders and servants there is no stopping them. God is forging HIS nation through adversity and experience so they can glorify HIM. There are also lessons for us, principals that can guide us as the Body of Christ.

Two weeks ago, the end of chapter seven:

24 Then Joshua and all the Israelites took Achan, the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, tent, and everything he had, and they brought them to the valley of Achor. 25 Then Joshua said to Achan, “Why have you brought trouble on us? The Lord will now bring trouble on you.” All the Israelites stoned Achan and his family and burned their bodies. 26 They piled a great heap of stones over Achan, which remains to this day. That is why the place has been called the Valley of Trouble ever since. So the Lord was no longer angry.

  • Beginning with Adam & Eve, sin must be paid for with a sacrifice
  • When the sacrifice is as God has prescribed, the guilt is forgiven
  • God is satisfied, the price was paid

Joshua 8:1-29

1 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.”

  • Now that the price has been paid for the sin God says: ‘Forget about it!…I have’
  • Yahweh declares He will still go before the Israelites and take the city of Ai
  • Valuable items & animals can be taken (God sets the terms for devotion)
  • God provides the genesis of a plan…back side ambush
  • God gives Joshua the outline, and because he is connected, creativity as well

3 So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night. 4 He commanded them, “Behold you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you remain ready.

  • Sends out the ambush force (30,000) by night to their hiding place
  • They are to be as close as they can without being seen and ready to go
  • As it turns out there is a perfect place for them to hide…

5 I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. When they come out against us just as before, we shall flee before them. 6 They will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city. For they will say, ‘They are fleeing from us, just as before.’ So we will flee before them. 7 Then you shall rise up from the ambush and seize the city, for the Lord your God will give it into your hand. 8 And as soon as you have taken the city, you shall set the city on fire. You shall do according to the word of the Lord. See, I have commanded you.”

  • Joshua’s army will do just what they did before…but this time not from fear
  • They are counting on the enemy to be overconfident, to overplay his hand…
  • Joshua is commanding with the authority of Yahweh

9 So Joshua sent them out, and they went to the place of ambush and lay between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai, but Joshua spent that night among the people. 10 Joshua arose early in the morning and mustered the people and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai. 11 All the fighting men who were with him went up and drew near before the city and encamped on the north side of Ai, with a ravine between them and Ai. (1)

  • The ambush group of 30,000 got situated overnight going around behind Ai
  • Joshua’s other force (30,000?) camps where they can be seen at sunrise

12 He took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. 13 So they stationed the forces, the main encampment that was north of the city and its rear guard west of the city. But Joshua spent that night in the valley. (1)

  • He put 5000 men as northwestern ambush between Bethel & Ai (done at night)
  • Between Bethel and Ai…This was land with some history (It’s all connected)
  • Genesis 12:8 & 13:3-4 Twice Abram makes an altar to the Lord there

14 As soon as the king of Ai saw this, he and all his people, the men of the city, hurried and went out early to the appointed place toward the Arabah to meet Israel in battle. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. (1)

  • At 1st light King sees Joshua’s army across the ravine and goes to meet him
  • He certainly leaves a force in the city as back up (City Guard)
  • He wants to meet the Israelite army on the plain at the mouth of the valley
  • He thought this was the whole Israelite army…

15 Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten before them and fled in the direction of the wilderness. 16 So all the people who were in the city were called together to pursue them, and as they pursued Joshua they were drawn away from the city. 17 Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city open and pursued Israel. (1&2)

  • They fled a easterly direction back along the valley
  • The army of Ai is seen chasing Joshua’s army from the walls of both cities
  • The ‘City Guard’ of Ai & the fighting men of Bethel leave their cities to chase
  • The 5000 men west of Bethel let everyone go to chase before they follow

18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” And Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19 And the men in the ambush rose quickly out of their place, and as soon as he had stretched out his hand, they ran and entered the city and captured it. And they hurried to set the city on fire. (2&3)

  • Joshua gives the ‘Anointed Signal’ doing exactly what God says (no questions)
  • Somehow the 30,000 men waiting behind Ai could see the signal and moved
  • In short order they set Ai to burning, the city guard all left. No resistance

20 So when the men of Ai looked back, behold, the smoke of the city went up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that, for the people who fled to the wilderness turned back against the pursuers. 21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. (3&4)

  • Joshua’s men had stopped retreating
  • All the fighting men from Ai & Bethel were between Ai and the Israelite Army
  • Everyone sees the smoke coming from Ai
  • One army knows it’s city and families are being consumed, they give up
  • One army knows their God is running things, they become supremely confident

22 The other Israelites came out from the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. And Israel struck them down, until there was left none that survived or escaped. 23 But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him near to Joshua. (3&4)

  • They had them trapped from all sides
  • Destruction was total, except the King

24 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword. 25 All who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai.

  • All of the fighters they killed in the open ground (7-8K at most)

26 But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the Lord that he commanded Joshua.

  • Joshua held out the Javelin for the battle AND the devotion of the city
  • He made sure he did it as long as God wanted him to do it: Complete Devotion

28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day. 29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. At sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.

  • City of Ai was rebuilt at a site nearby (Neh. 7:32) Sister city of Bethel
  • The hanging on a tree was probably impaling
  • Scripture gave a process

If a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance. ~ Deuteronomy 21:22–23


God teaches His people that once sin is addressed and God has extended grace, the relationship is repaired: HIS forgiveness is perfect so HIS people can be encouraged and brave not overshadowed by their sin!

God uses HIS leaders to plan and execute HIS projects. They seek His guidance, command with HIS authority and succeed by HIS power…even when it is not done with miracles. We are called to do our best in His service!

God puts HIS leaders in a position to be seen and given attention. HIS ‘Christ-Type’ leaders are obedient and complete their assignments. In this story Joshua is an extension of God’s leadership of HIS people.


What is the Biblical basis by which your sin is forgiven, and once it is forgiven how does God view it? How do you view it?

As Christ’s Body, what can we do to promote Visionary Leadership and Faithful Servanthood as we see in this passage?

What roles of Leadership and/or servanthood do you see yourself growing into here @ Midtown Church?


As ‘Biblically Forgiven People’, our relationship with God through Jesus Christ enables us to live with courage and purpose doing everything ‘As unto The Lord’. (Col. 3:23)

Diagram of The Battle