Defeat in the Land of Victory

Steven VanderMolen

READ : Joshua 7:1-12

What a short step there is between a great victory and a great defeat. One moment we are riding high on a cloud of some great spiritual success, and the next moment we are plunged into the dark valley of some grim spiritual failure. That’s the way it was with Joshua. The victory at Jericho was a wonderful success, carried out in strict obedience to the battle plan of God and accomplished by His power. But now we are in chapter 7, which tells of the army’s terrible defeat at Ai, a much smaller city.

The Israelites were too self-confident. They sent only a couple thousand men so they wouldn’t weary all the people (v. 3). The people had forgotten that it was God who had delivered them and not the Israelite troops. We forget that, too.

There was also a lack of prayer, particularly on the part of Joshua. He apparently acted more on the information from the scouts than on directions from the Lord. It’s so easy to forge ahead with our plans without consulting God. When we leave Him out of our goals, plans and decisions, we proceed at our own peril! God is the best consultant we could ever have and He offers His guidance to all who desire it. Seek Him in your plans and depend upon His strength to see you through.


Teach us to depend upon Your leadership, O God, especially as we plan and set our goals for the future. In the name of Jesus. Amen.