In Joshua 8, Joshua allows the Lord to organize victory out of his mistakes and failures.
When we make a mistake and suffer defeat, what we do next is of extreme importance. We can live in that defeat or we can by God’s grace learn from it and move on to victory. Failure can be a backdoor to success if we are willing to seek the forgiveness of God and deal with our sin in the way God has prescribed.
Five Secrets for Getting Back on Track After A Defeat:
1. Remember God Never Forsakes His Children No Matter How They Fail Him
“Now the LORD said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed;…” (Joshua 8:1a)
After we have sinned and blown it, the enemy relishes to go into overdrive and whisper in our ear, “You messed up and God will never use you again.”
It was at such a moment in Joshua’s life following a humiliating defeat, in which God specifically reminded Joshua of his promise. It is reassuring to understand that God does not permanently withdraw His blessings when we fail. The Lord is waiting for us to seek His face so He can remind us of His love and word.
What if God permanently withdrew His blessings/promises from our lives when we sinned or blew our obedience? It is a sobering thought! Praise the Lord, He is faithful.
2. We Need To Learn Not to Repeat the Same Mistakes
“ …take all the people of war with you,…” (Joshua 8:1b)
God’s word to Joshua was to use all of the fighting men of Israel, not just a select few. Though the primary cause of defeat at Ai was Achan’s sin. A contributing factor was underestimating the enemy, overestimating themselves. and presuming upon the power of the Lord.
How often do we get in trouble because we make the same mistake twice? To get on track we need to be willing to listen to God and obey fully.
3. We May Be Required To Return To The Scene Of An Earlier Defeat
“… and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. (2) And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its cattle you shall take as booty for yourselves. Lay an ambush for the city behind it.” (Joshua 8:1c-2)
Joshua is told again to get up and return to the place of defeat. This time the whole nation was in a right relationship with the Lord. God promises to turn the place of defeat into a place of victory.
With the power of God a mighty city like Jericho could be taken. Without His blessing a little town like Ai could not be overthrown. Regardless of the endeavor, we are utterly dependent upon God’s blessing for any success!
4. We Need To Remember That The Recovery Of Lost Ground Is Always Painful And Costly.
“… when they come out against us as at the first, that we shall flee before them. (6) For they will come out after us till we have drawn them from the city, for they will say, ‘They are fleeing before us as at the first.’” (Joshua 8:5-6)
The plan, as set out by the Lord, utilizes the Israelites’ previous defeat to their advantage. If we allow Him, God is able to turn even the most humiliating mistakes in our lives to our ultimate good.
Romans 8:28 reminds “the Lord causes all things to work together (even mistakes) for good.”
This does not mean that we will not experience the negative effects of our failures. Israel did and we will too. But God changed all of that for Israel and He can do it for us as well. He can turn our blunders into blessings.
5. We Need To Remember The Source Of Blessings
In Joshua 8:30-35 we read that Joshua built an altar, offered sacrifices, made another copy of the law, and then read it to the people. Joshua did not celebrate with a victory march or a dazzling banquet. Instead he did a most unusual thing. In obedience to the command of Moses (Deut 27) Joshua had the people travel some 30 miles to the valley between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. He built an altar and carried out a renewal service in recognition that their success was entirely dependant on being obedient to God.