Vanquished or Victorious?

Bible Book: Joshua  8 : 1-2
Subject: Victory; Prayer; Faith

In today’s passage, we discover Joshua people suffering defeat at a little town called Ai in Canaan, and then winning a victory over the village of Ai after the humbling defeat. The defeat at Ai followed the incredible victory which God’s people had at Jericho. The question is, how can an army that defeated a stronghold like Jericho be defeated by a small village? That is part of what we will be looking at today. And, then, how did God’s people for forth once again to win a victory at Ai?

Do you want to live in victory or defeat in your life? Unless you are very strange, you wish to be a victorious person in every area of your life. How many people actually want to live in defeat? Let’s ask that another way, how many people want to live in victory? We want to be victorious in everything. Even when we are watching a ballgame on television, we will pick a side to “pull” for. We yell at the officials when a call is made against “our” team. Of course, we don’t own the team. We don’t play for the team. We don’t have anything to do with the team, but we refer to the team as our team. When “our” team scores we yell and clap. Why do we act that way about people we don’t even know? The answer is simple; we like to be associated with victory.

The Bible mentions “victory” 21 times in the NKJV. Victory comes in a number of ways…

Victory can be experienced after a defeat!

Joshua 7 the story of Ai

Victory can be experienced after a disease

Psalm 119:67 “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”

Victory can be experienced after trusting in your Deliverer…

1 Corinthians 15:57 says “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Victory can be experienced after making an important decision

1 John 5:4-5 says, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

What do all these victories have in common?

I. Proactive in Your Faith!

When God says move…then move

When God says stand…then stand

When God says speak…then speak

The people of God had gone up against Jericho because the Lord told them to do it; however, the decision to go up to Ai was made without faith. In fact, it appears that Joshua took for granted that just because they had defeated Jericho, the people of God would have no trouble with a little village like Ai. He was in for a surprise.

Pride goes before a fall. We must never take God’s blessings for granted. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world, but faith must be in God and not in who we are, what a we have done in the past or some other attribute we count as important.

II.Possessions Must Be in the Right Place!

In Joshua, chapter 7, we learn that part of the reason for the defeat at Ai had to do with possessions. God had placed a “ban” on Jericho. That meant that the people were to take no spoils from the city. One man, Achan, took some items from the city and hid them under his tent. Joshua did not know about this, but part of his the reason for his ignorance was his lack of seeking God before proceeding to the next battle at Ai.

Let’s understand something right now. God owns everything. If you don’t believe that, just watch what you take with you when you die. A rich man in a particular city died. Two men were talking about the deceased when one asked the other, “How much did he leave.” The question was concerning the exact amount of the wealth the dead man left his family. “How much did he leave?” the man asked. The other gentleman answered, “All of it!” He was exactly right. Everything belongs to God, so we must begin with that understanding. You don’t own anything. All you have is loaned to you by God. Oh, I know, you have worked hard to gain possessions. Sure you have. And, that is good. And, there is nothing wrong with possessions. We are supposed to work and gain possessions. However, we must acknowledge that God is the giver of every perfect gift. We earn things not just because we work hard but because God continues to bless us. He opens doors for us. He gives us a mind with which to think, hands with which to work, feet with which to walk, and even the oxygen we breathe. Without these things, we would not be able to earn what we have. We must honor him with our wealth, whether small or great.

If possessions ever get in front of the Prince of Peace, you will have no peace! ‘Keeping up the Jones’” will not place you and keep you in “Victory Lane!” One thing we must do is never confuse contributions with tithes, offerings, and sacrificial giving. Contributing is not the same as obeying God in regard to our possessions. The mistake of Achan in regard to possessions cost the entire Hebrew nation an awful, embarrassing and costly defeat Ai. When you are unfaithful to God with your possessions, you rob yourself and others around you of blessings that could have been received and would have been received had you obeyed!

III. Prayer is Your Lifeline Not Your Sometime

You will note that Joshua did not pray before sending the soldiers up to Ai. After the victory at Jericho, Joshua was heady and excited. He thought nothing was impossible to his army. In essence, Joshua forgot, perhaps, that every real victory comes from God and victory begins when we talk to God about every issue in our lives. Ask God about the choices you are making in your life, if you want to live in victory.

Listen to others who talk to God about your life. Sometimes people are praying for you and they are led by God to share things to help you. But, be sure of this, what looks and feels good, may turn out to be a disaster.

IV. People Are Always Encouraged to Join the Victory

When God’s people won the victory at Jericho, there was a family that won the victory with them. The lady in that family was a woman named Rahab. She was a prostitute that lived in the magnificent wall surrounding Jericho. She was likely a religious prostitute within the fertility rites of the Canaanite people. When Joshua sent spies over to Jericho before the fall of the city, they came to the home of Rahab. Perhaps they went there because they knew that it would not be unlikely for some travelling men to visit the home of a prostitute. Going there would not draw attention to them and cause them to be arrested and tortured for information about what they were doing in the city. At any rate, Rahab revealed some things that led to her been spared when the walls fell and great carnage came on the city.

What did Rahab have that saved her and her family?

A. She saw providence instead of coincidence, Joshua 2 and the spies

She believed that the spies had come to her home because God had a purpose in her life. Let me ask you something? Do you believe you are here in this service today by accident or that God has you here because he is saying something to you? Did you just show up here out of habit, or did you come expecting God to speak to your heart and life?

B. She saw mercy instead of justice, she was spared by God

She had heard about the God of the Hebrews. She was looking for mercy and not justice. One thing we must all do in order to be victorious, is lean on the mercy of God. We do not want to what we deserve, but rather we all need the mercy that God provides through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. If you are too good to announce your need, you will get judgment. If you will confess your sin, God will forgive your sin and bless you with victory.

C She saw forgiveness instead of judgment, in lineage of Christ!

Rahab is an amazing woman. She ended up in the lineage of Christ. She is mention in the genealogy of Christ in Matthew’s Gospel. How amazing. She went from a prostitute in Jericho to be a daughter of God in Christ. That is available to everyone. Someone will say, “Oh, but I am not a great sinner like Rahab.” Really? Everyone of us has sinned and come short of the glory of God. If you were trying to jump over a chasm with jagged rocks lurking hundreds of feet below, it would not matter if you fell short by a foot or a mile. You would experience the same horrifying death! We are all sinners. Even those of us that are saved still fall short of God’s Son. We need to ask God to forgive us. We need to renew our commitment to “keep the faith.” We need to acknowledge that every victory in our lives comes through Him – through the Lord. And, those who have never trusted Christ, need to do what Rahab did – place your faith in Jesus to save, forgive and give you victory!

Are you experiencing victory in your life today? What is stopping you that needs to be changed? Let’s take care of that right now. Why now? Just think, the very all that Rahab was living in was destined to collapse. Had she failed to place her faith in God for victory, she and her entire family would have died without the Lord when the walls came tumbling down. Every manmade wall is destined to fall, but the house built on the Rock – on Jesus – will stand every storm!