Lesson 7Joshua 8:1-35

Have you ever failed so bad you thought your world was coming to an end? Have you ever been so down about your inability to accomplish something, or be something, that all seemed hopeless? This was Joshua in our last lesson.

He and the people that God had led out of the desert, and who had seen miracle after miracle, now felt completely ashamed, defeated, and hopeless. After all that they had been through, how could God have led them to Jericho and then let them be defeated at Ai? Wasn’t it interesting how quickly they blamed God when Ai’s defeat was actually of their own doing?! And wasn’t it interesting how one setback caused them to believe that all was lost and that there was no hope?


Our current lesson will show us that, in spite of our shortcomings, our lack of faith, and our lack of vision, God will hear our cries and lead us through to our next victory. God wants us to be successful and not defeated, but we will see that success requires us to be faithful in obeying his commands. The hope of Israel will be restored, and their walk with God will be renewed, as they once again trust solely in Him.

Let’s begin our study by reading Chapter 8 and then consider the following:

  1. Have you ever attempted something on your own without consulting God first, and then failed miserably? Can you describe the emotions brought to the surface from that failure? How did you feel? How did you act? Did it seem as if all was lost? As a result of that experience, what happened between you and God? Did it bring you closer, or push you farther away? In the space below, jot down some thoughts about an experience in your life that you believe was a failure because you didn’t seek out God first. Also describe the effects that the defeat had on you.
  2. What was the reaction of the people of Israel to the defeat at Ai? (see Josh. 7:5 and Josh. 8:1)
  3. When they failed, and when you experienced your failure, why do you suppose it happened? What did God tell Joshua about why they failed when they went to battle Ai? (see Josh. 7:10)
  4. Can we then say that at the base of every failure of man is sin?
  5. Read Joshua 8:2-8 and summarize in a few words what the battle plan was that God laid out for Joshua at Ai. Also comment regarding whether you think this plan took advantage of the previous defeat and used it to Joshua’s advantage.
  6. When you have suffered a failure, has God ever used that experience to your advantage later, in effect turning something negative into something positive?
  7. In reading about the battle itself in Joshua 8:18-23, what can we learn about the importance of a leader when we are in battle, and the importance of the leader’s motivating influence on us?
  8. In Joshua 8:24-29, how thorough is the defeat at Ai? List some of the details that Joshua gives us about the defeat and how complete it was, leaving no doubt regarding who had gotten the victory that day.

Having exacted the penalty for sin when they executed Achan and his family, and having followed God’s instructions precisely, resulting in the defeat of Ai, Joshua then leads the people in a covenant renewal ceremony. (see Joshua 8:30-35).

Are you ready to follow God’s word exactly and gain the victory that is guaranteed you? Are you ready to rid your camp of sin and follow God only? Are you ready to be led in covenant renewal?

Will you make today the day you turn over the Lordship of your entire life to Christ, and not just pieces of it? He is waiting for you today, as he waited for the Israelites then. Make today a day of renewal by confessing your sins and turning your back on the "Ai’s" of your life. Chose today to follow Christ, to confess your sin, and to cry out as Joshua did, asking God to come to your rescue. He will turn your defeat into victory and lead you in a closer walk with Him.

May God richly bless you and raise you up in victory as you study His Holy Word.

Yours in Christ,