Joshua sent some of his men from Jericho to spy out the town of Ai, east of Bethel, near Beth-aven. When they returned, they told Joshua, "There's no need for all of us to go up there; it won't take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don't make all our people struggle to go up there."
— Joshua 7:2-3
The story of the Israelites' victory over Jericho is of the greatest stories ever told. But after Jericho came Ai. It was a small city compared to Jericho, which was lying in smoldering ruins. The Israelites apparently thought they could have essentially done this one in their sleep. They didn't even need the whole Israeli army, they reasoned—just a few thousand. This argument was based on the supposition that Israel had captured Jericho.
But if anything is clear from the story of Jericho's fall, Israel had very little to do with its defeat. God did it. As the Israelites were willing to humble themselves and do it God's way, He brought them a great victory. Yet when it came to Ai, they were acting as though they could knock down another city without any effort or apparent dependence on God.
It was God's plan for the Israelites to go from victory to victory, overtaking their enemies in Canaan. But they had to do God's will in God's way. Instead, they faced a crushing defeat at Ai, which was much smaller than Jericho.
Sometimes we are more vulnerable after a time of victory in our lives. We are more vulnerable after God has blessed us. So don't be surprised the next time you leave church and get attacked spiritually. Don't be surprised when the Lord has done a great work in your life and then there is a spiritual attack.
After Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form a dove. And then He went immediately into the wilderness, where He was tested by the Devil. After the dove came the Devil.
As the Scottish preacher Andrew Bonar once said, "Let us be as watchful after the victory as before the battle."
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