In Joshua 8:1-26, we have two lessons. Patience wins the battle and impatience cost the lives of 12,000. This lesson in patience actually begins back in Joshua 6 after Achan stole from the Lord. And then in chapter 7, Israel loses 36 men in their attack on Ai. Read this text and consider these thoughts that have occurred to me and remind us that patience means waiting on the Lord.
· Would there have been a saving of the 36 if, before they actually went up to Ai, Joshua had spoken to the Lord about it. Perhaps he would have found out about Achan earlier. Even though the Lord does not speak to us the same way, this is the process for all of us to follow in every decision of how to conduct our lives (James 4:13-15). Always, we should wait on the Lord.
· One of the reasons for patience is to formulate a plan of action. Joshua did that very thing for Israel’s second attack upon Ai. The formulation of a plan is itself an act of patience. One must consider the goal, the needed items, the approach, the possible challenges and the resources. When we are encouraged to “meditate” (1 Tim. 4:12-15), surely part of the meditation includes the setting of goals and the making of plans.
· Joshua’s soldiers patiently waited in ambush for the signal to attack the city. No one “jumped the gun” and gave away their position. On the other hand, Ai was so anxious to defeat the Israelites again that they underestimated their cunning and their planning. 12,000 of them died because they did not “look before they leaped.” Joshua kept his spear and hand that signaled the attack outstretched during the whole battle. That is patience to see a thing through to its end.
May these lessons help us learn to wait on the Lord.