Josh. 7:4 So approximately three thousand warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated. The men of Ai chased the Israelites from the city gates as far as the quarries and they killed about thirty-six who were retreating down the slope. The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events and their courage melted away.
God was merciful to Israel. If all the soldiers had gone to Ai and fought the battle, they would have all died. Ai was the second city on the agenda of the Israelites to conquer the Promised Land. God had given the Israelites specific instructions on what they were to do and not do at Jericho. Achan disobeyed God and took some plunder that was forbidden for his own. Because of his sin, God did not help the Israelites when they fought the city of Ai. Instead, He caused the Israelites to suffer defeat. They had no chance at all for victory. But, they were so confident of themselves after the victory at Jericho that they sent only a small army to fight against Ai. No matter how big of an army had gone into battle that day, they would have been defeated.
There is a very important lesson for us to learn from Israel’s defeat at Ai. Whenever we try to contend with Satan on our own and with sin in our hearts, we will lose. There is no victory over sin when sin is in our hearts. Sin breeds sin. We cannot expect God to come to our aide when we aren’t willing to obey Him and keep from sinning. The Lord helps those who help themselves by obeying Him.
We are overcomers only when we take sin seriously. When we intentionally sin against God, His protective cover over us is withdrawn and we become vulnerable to even more sin. It is imperative that we not allow sin to linger in our hearts. When we sin, and we all do, we must flee to Christ and seek His forgiveness. We will only aggravate our problem if we deny our sin, hide it, or pretend it doesn’t exist.
Victory only comes to those whose hearts are right with God and obey Him in all things. Take sin seriously, because God does.