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July 11, 2021

Sunday Sermon


Joshua 8 : 1 - 35

Introduction: Making up for lost ground is always difficult. For the basketball team that falls behind, the student who procrastinates too long, or the couple who spends too much money, catching up is hard to do. This was true for the Israelites, and it’s true in Christians today.

However, consider the old adage, “There are three men who deserve no pity: the unsecured creditor, the henpecked husband, and the man who will not try again. We seek to live for God and depend on His power and strength, but we do fail; and when we fail, it is time to try again. A mistake is an opportunity to begin again, more spiritually. Turning Blunders Into Blessings! Joshua teaches us principles for regaining lost ground.



v. 1-2

(Victory through believing God’s instructions, His Word)

A. Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed: This was the first key to regaining victory. They had to receive encouragement from God. Though Israel stumbled through Achan’s sin as shown in Joshua 7, they dealt with the failure and now had to move on.

1. When Joshua heard God’s Words, his heart must have pounded with joy because God spoke these same words to Moses when he sent out the twelve spies at Kadesh Barnea (Deut. 1:21).

2. It is often the most difficult to regain lost ground such as Ai. When we failed at some point in our Christian lives, we need to know how to get back on track.

3. What is past is past. We must deal with it before God in repentance and dying to self, and then look forward to what He has for us right now.

B. Giving Joshua a second chance, God tells Him to take the whole army and attack Ai again because He has already given the king and city to him.



v. 3-29

(Victory through obedience, doing exactly what God has instructed)

It takes humility for Joshua to follow God’s plan because Ai has a far inferior military force and only 12,000 inhabitants (8:25). Joshua chooses 30,000 of his best warriors and sends them out at night.

A. The main army will attack and then pretend to retreat.

B. When the army of Ai pursues them, the ambush (5,000 elite men) party is to take the city, burn it, and then ambush the army of Ai from the rear (8:4-8).

C. The city (Ai) was destroyed completely, and the men of Ai were defeated.

We must remember that no matter our defeats, we can experience victory only as we depend on the plan of God in our lives.

As Joshua did, we have to follow God’s plan precisely in order to regain lost ground.



v. 30-35

(Victory through rededication, a renewed commitment or covenant)

A. After God gives the Israelites’ victory, Joshua leads the people about thirty miles north to build an altar to the Lord on Mount Ebal exactly where Moses commanded (8:30-31 & Deut. 27:4-7).

B. Building an altar there acknowledges God the source of their victories and is always faithful to His promises.

Some will read this chapter and see the regained lost ground as that which was overtaken at Ai. The real regained lost ground, though, was the renewed commitment God’s people had to Him.

When we face fear and discouragement, setback and defeat, there is one sure way to secure restoration. There is one way to be renewed, to gain the victory over being defeated. What is that way? The rededication of our lives to God, the recommitment or renewal of our covenant with God. When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we made a covenant with God.

Worshipping God in spirit is worshipping Him with sincerity and no pretense.


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