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Ai, the Second Victory

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 2, 2021 8:00 am

Ai, the Second Victory

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 2, 2021 8:00 am

While it's true that sometimes the 'walls of Jericho' come down when we merely shout, but most often there are no short-cuts, and our battles need to be fought in the ordinary way. On this episode of The Bible Study Hour, Dr. James Boice assures us that whether the battle is miraculous or ordinary, the key to victory is one and the same.

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While it's true that sometimes the walls of Jericho come down and we merely shout most often there are no shortcuts in our battles need to be fought in the ordinary way today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce assures us that whether the battle is miraculous or ordinary. The key to victory is one in the same welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically all of us are attracted to miracles like the battle of Jericho.

But today Dr. Boyce persuades us from Joshua eight that the victories gained by normal ordinary meetings are every bit as complete and triumphant in the process of a study of the book of Joshua and our study of this book has brought us as far as the eighth chapter which recounts the victory of Jewish armies over a little fortress IN the mountains that was known as AI stalled in the eighth chapter making rather slow progress through this book because we began to study it way back at the beginning of September.8 chapters but if you think our progress in getting through a study of the book of Joshua is slow.

You should have been with the Jewish armies trying to conquer the land. You know the book and read ahead you know that the book has 24 chapters of the eighth chapter is 1/3 of the way through the book yet of the in spite of the fact that this is 1/3 of the way through the history of the conquest. I am only at this point reached the second Saturday there was a long time of preparation that was important preparation of Joshua himself. The people preparation before they crossed the Jordan preparation. Afterward, the delay that I've had here in the last chapter is not a delay that was due to any preparation, but rather delay that came from great failure on their part and had a great victory.

Jericho, most of us think about the book of Joshua we think of the battle of Jericho.

Probably because of the Negro spiritual Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho. It's right that we should think that way because it certainly was a great battle with one of the power of the Lord people and only marched around the city and in obedience to God's commands.

Once on each day for six days and then on the seventh day they marched around seven times and then when the signal was given. The priests blew the trumpets and the people shouted all of the walls came tumbling down. Except that portion of the wall that contained the house of Rahab was spared along with her family. When the walls fell down. People armies moved into the city and they took it and it was a great tremendous exhilarating victory. I suppose at that point they must've said to themselves will look Jericho was a great fortress and all we did was shout and the walls came tumbling down the rest of his conquest's map. At any rate, that's the message that the spies were sent ahead to AI seem to bring back they came back and said well this little town is much compared to Jericho. It's a small place. I suppose we don't need the whole army. I told Joshua to send two or 3000 troops will be enough to take it that I have course was self-confidence and perhaps arrogance were told in the story that there were 12,000 armed men in AI so that was a bit of arrogance to think that with 3000 man you could take a walled city stoutly defended by 12,000 man but at any rate, that's what they did.

They said they should be easily and when they went up to take it.

They were routed the armies of Israel fled back down the ravine. A number of men were killed and the spirit of the people in the hearts of the people. It says in the text melted away like water we find Joshua in the last chapter facedown before the Lord, asking one of the world is going wrong. I we might suppose, as I suggested last Sunday that there were a number of things. Self-confidence is an obvious fall lack of prayer seems also been flaunted any rate, we are not told Joshua consulted the Lord for battle plans in the city. God-given plans for Jericho initiative consulted the Lord.

He may have saved it. Perhaps a right to suppose that he hadn't the praying was done afterward to Judah been done before.

Like it often is in our lives.

But when God told Joshua. The reason for the failure. God did not say perhaps he might have. Well, you're just too self-confident to think that you can bring about a victory or not, depending on your or are you're not praying you're not seeking my well you think that you can make your own plans, but didn't say any of those things so he could have. He said there is sin in the care we saw how the sin of Aiken taking the things been dedicated to the Lord which you been instructed not to take brought about the defeat we saw as we study that chapter I was dealt with God brought sin to lights was exposed. Aiken presumably his family also somewhat ambiguous in the text whether it understand his family have been killed as well, but they were all judged and when that's behind them. The Jewish armies were now ready for this conquest. Once again it is interesting, isn't it, that they had to do it again. You know when you and I in the Christian life run into the difficulty we have a tendency to think that well if there's difficulty then probably what the Lord is teaching us is that this is the way we should go and we should bypass the difficulty in order to find an easier route.

I think young people today are particularly susceptible to that kind of thinking, but it's not that way in the Christian life. God's way is difficult way some respects and easy and the other is easy if we depend upon him because he prepares the way for us to be provides the victories, but he doesn't shortcut the battlements battles have to be fought. And even though they had been defeated and had investigated the sentiment dealt with the sin. Nevertheless, AI was still up in the mountains and I had to take the city before they could go forward.

I pointed out some studies ago something of the geography of the land and how the military strategy unfolded Palestine as a hilly country. As you know, the main road is a north-south road that runs along the high point of the country where can control that road can control the land so that was obviously Joshua strategy to take the high road. To do that he had to force away with his army from lower Jordan Valley to the heights Jericho is great walled city stood at the base.

Anybody who wanted to reach the high road had to take Jericho in AI smaller fortress stood at the top. So in order to take the road divide the country and proceed with the conquest. Joshua really did have to proceed with his victory. So we did as we come to the eighth chapter we find God telling him to renew the attack this point Joshua might've been discouraged probably was because God tells them not to be in writing and afraid probably was because God tells them not to be whether he was afraid or discouraged or whether he was holding back for any other reason. Nevertheless is what he was to do the Lord since the Joshua verse one monthly afraid monthly discouraged take the whole army with you and glop and attack AI for I have delivered in the your hands the King of AI people city is land so Joshua proceeded with the conquest I was. I study this no doubt as you noticed, as we read earlier for our Scripture lesson. The first obvious thing that stands out about this campaign is that it was non-miraculous conquest of Jericho did involve the miracle wasn't in a physical phenomenon of the shout and the trumpet suggests happen because of some kind of vibration to make those walls fall that I've heard of tenors, particularly high voices, shattering glasses but no army, regardless of how loud a child to never lock down the walls of the city and those walls fell down because God knocked down. It was absolutely miraculous. But AI was not like that.

As you read this. This is the same kind of a an account of an attack that you might find in Caesar's Gallic wars or Xenophon's Anabaptists are any other great military document from history here was a city that had to be taken. Joshua proceeded against it. Does any military commander, might have no vow to God since election. Nevertheless, very human terms related ambush behind the city came up with his armies before the things in the tack room the defenders out and see it as armies fled back down the ravine toward the Jordan city was emptied of its defenders, and the gates were open. Men were hidden in ambush when in the city soon as the fire rose from the city of Joshua with his troops descending down the ravine.

Somebody raised his spirit was assigned to advance, they turned around and they caught the defenders of AI, squeeze my annihilated the Army perfectly natural victory, humanly speaking, is a great lesson that is a matter of fact are many lessons one great lesson in it is a God uses different methods when he deals with his people will like that you know because we like everything the work exactly the same eyes as the computer age of the one thing about a computer as it is predictable what you put in you get out if you proceed in a certain way you get certain results always happens that way. That's the way we like to make God by God to be a great computer in the sky and as long as you push the buttons in the right way. God responds in a right way and even if it's God is doing the pushing of the buttons we really think somehow deep in our hearts as you always push exactly the same but wasn't exactly in the same order as dealing with us do that. You know we shouldn't be surprised course God is infinite God is an infinite variety of means at his disposal as he works with his people, but we don't like yeah that's the way God operates. You know, God operates and we need to spell out a little bit God operates differently in our lives as he does in the lives of other people. That's to say Christian experience is not identical now. In some ways it is we all have an identical experience of the grace of God through Jesus Christ for salvation and no other way. That's why you have unity in the body of Christ because we testify to the same work of God in saving this through Jesus Christ. But the way in which God, that realization and live it out is is infinite as God himself some time ago I was thinking along these lines, and I came across the observation of the former pastor of 10th Presbyterian Church about the two blind men that are said to have been healed by Jesus Christ, and stories are told in Mark's gospel in the eighth chapter of John's Gospel in the ninth chapter and this particular set of observations on those healings blades a great deal of the fact that in John a blind man was healed by Christ spitting on the ground making clay using the clay to anoint the blind man's eyes that he was told to go watch the poolside all the wash sealed the other man whose story is told in the eighth chapter of Mark's gospel was only healed by the touch of the Lord Jesus Christ as preacher. Imagine those two blind men getting together at some point later on in the Christian life and beginning to compare their stories they were telling how Jesus healed them of their blindness and man whose story is told in Mark eight, tells how Jesus reached out and touched them, and how is blindness was healed and he received his sight. The man whose story is told in John nine responds by saying yes brother but you left out the bit about the clay no I didn't. He says what we mean bit about the clay. All you know how Jesus spits in the ground and makes clay and then anoint your eyes, and tells you to wash and that's the way your blindness is healed man in Margate says well they didn't do that with all yes she must says the brother in John nine because that's the way Jesus heals blindness.

While he did know that when they says the man.

MRK. The Manning John nine says well brother that is in your experience, I doubt whether you really received your site is the way we operate in a God does something in another Christian's life that's different from ours reaches them in a way that we think is improper and we say well I doubt that's really Jesus Christ work. Maybe it's the double maybe itself pollution. I don't want to make light of that, the devil is operative operates as an angel of light. We do delude ourselves. That's why we have to test our experience by Scripture, but the point I'm making. The God who works works through Scripture does so with wonderful variety in the lives of his people. When we begin to understand that well and that opens our eyes to his grace gives us ample opportunity to praise and let me point out also that is not merely the God operates in different ways and different people. God also operates in different ways in our lives is entirely apart from other people and how it is one point in your life you have a particularly thrilling experience.

Things just seem to go so well for you.

You didn't testifying to God's grace to a neighbor in the neighbor becomes a Christian then not only is the neighbor the question of the neighbor testifies that the family and the whole family becomes Christians and invite them to your church and all my goodness is wonderful. It just increases the size of the Sunday school and everybody so please and then next month things really begin to go bad you're testifying to the neighbor on the other side in the art responsive in all, I make fun of you like talk to the neighbors. Your shunned by the grocer lives down the block and then in addition to that, things go wrong at work on the verge of losing your job, you don't get your commission and you say to yourself, well, God stopped working with me. I don't know what happened month ago. Things were going great. What the world is going on now. Sometimes you know God will use something like that to get our attention because when things go well, we don't look to them. Quite as often as we do when things go badly, but it is not necessarily the case. When things go badly. God is no longer at work.also works with the bad time I work through the struggles, God works through heartaches. God works through disappointments as well as joys and triumphs, and he works through others in the works to people inside the church and people outside of the church and I can say so. As a pastor, sometimes even works for speakers in the mass media even television, much as I hate God works in the city. God works in the country. God works for the wealthy.

God works through the poor, and so on, and he does that even when he is working in her own life.

I suppose there's a reason for that.

As I begin to think about it. If only smart in our lives always in precisely the same way we would say would well that's something we can count on always operates that way and then we can operate in a most impersonal way with God.

God is not impersonal. He doesn't want to be impersonal with us.

God is the personal God. And so he approaches us with all the variety that we associate with persons in order that we might relate to him on that level at any right that is what he did here in the case of Joshua Jewish armies as they were trying to attack AI now.

Not only does this teach us that God uses different means to alert us that it also teaches us.

I believe a lesson that Jewish armies began to learn at this point that the non-miraculous is normative is almost true by definition, miracles happen all the time. They wouldn't be miracles just be the way it is miraculous event is something not only contrary to nature, but something that is unusual doesn't happen all the time so by definition, the non-miraculous is normative, but you know we don't think that way and I'm sure after the conquest of Jericho, the Jewish armies were thinking that way.

They were thinking. No doubt the way were going to take this land is my God marking down the walls.

All we have to do is go up to a sitting march around it will drop us down the wall you going to kill the people going to the next city and do the same thing and what they were having to learn is that God wasn't in operate that way, and the bulk of the conquest was going to be through very normal means of warfare which true arson miraculous events later on. One of the great miracles of the Bible occurs in this book, God stopping the sun in its passage of the heavens. So the Jewish armies could wreak a total victory on their enemies. That is yet to come.

But generally speaking the movement at this point is a way from miraculous to very normal conflict. You know that's true for us. We think often.

I suppose in the Christian life that giftware really close to the Lord really living by faith not by sight. Well, then miracles are going to be part and parcel of her everyday life, remain the same course of God is in there and when God's there in a certain sense.

It's always miraculous persons born again. That's a miracle if a person is growing in grace is a sense in which that's a miracle. But the point I'm making is that God works generally in our lives to very ordinary me know. Faith is believing the promises of God and acting on that's the case, well, it's a good exercise sometime go through the Bible and just starting the promises of God.

Sometimes you can find books or books promises I'm not mistaken there Gideon Bibles flight and hotel rooms at the beginning this promises in certain areas interesting to go through those promises and see what kind of principles are involved in what has to be done in our part in order to receive. Generally speaking, promises do not regard what we would call miraculous but are God's promise to operate normal means in response to Mary simple obedience on our part want to grow in the Christian life that may be America, but the way to do it is by studying the Bible and praying and fellowship with God's people. That's what happens we say all orbit, but we just search. Sometimes God does that.

But the real growth in the Christian life comes by steady obedience. Sometimes when were riding on the cloud. Things are going well, but also when were down in the pit of discouragement. When things are not going well were to obey in the pit as well as we are today on the cloud and its as we obey that we grow and make progress in this matter of the Christian life. When we look at this battle of the Jewish troops. Today I we learn a great deal from the fact that there was no miracle.

This time, this is a sermon that only has two points and that's the first and second when I'm in a give you right now. The second one is this this really neat.

Not only was this battle won by non-miraculous means but notice even though it was one by non-miraculous means the victory was every bit as complete and every bit as much of a triumph as the victory that had been one of Jericho say that's the way it's described. They went in and they destroyed the city they burned AI the way the chapter ends. They made it a permanent heap of ruins a desolate place that is very day time it was written that was a keeper was exactly the way Jericho was what you see what God requires of us is not the experience of the unusual. But that kind of faithful obedience in everyday life, which really is the key to victory. Because you see it from the Jewish point of no conquest of Jericho was no different than the conquest of the higher the conquest of AI, no different than the conquest of Jericho. It's true that in the first instance, God used a miracle in the second instance you simply use sound military tactics, but from the point of view of the Jewish troops. All they did was obey God in terms of his instructions for the battle. One case, they marched around the city and they blew their trumpets and shout in the other case related ambush and he pulled away and he drew out the defenders and then they moved forward and attacked the little they were really doing was obeying God was blonde was laying out the strategy and giving the victory as it pleased him to see.

I think that's so important in the case of this second rate victory because coming as it did after the defeat in the first attempt to take and I am sure Joshua would've heard as we often hear when were defeated in the Christian life. The attack of Satan who says well you really didn't make it that time did you know you entered the Christian life thinking that everything was going to be great God was going to work for you, and I suppose maybe God will work for people who live perfect lives, but you really blown that you know you didn't pray self-confident, send and then look at the defeats Archer humiliated why I suppose Satan says you might as well just go back to the desert docents tried to proceed with the conquest now and this promised land of promise. Jasper promised perfect people not to people like you. So Satan says look, why don't you just give up. Why don't you go back to living like the world plant trees like Jericho be for Saints not for normal people, you know, whenever we find ourselves thinking like that were really thinking about the thoughts of God. After God but the thoughts of Satan, after Satan and the great great wonder of the Christian life is that in spite of our defeats in spite of our failures, even when we fail, God forbid, we sometimes do, again and again and again and again God is nevertheless the one who gives the victory. It's not us because God is the one it gives the victory. He can take us right where we are in the midst of the failure carry us forward and give us victory every bit as great and wonderful and exhilarating as those victories that we remember from so many years before. I guess when I speak on a chapter like this.

I should be alert to the fact that I do speak to people who experience defeats we all do. Not everybody at all times group. The size must be many people feel defeated, discouraged, have a particular sin you been trying over, having succeeded at it you have a particular obstacle in the way of your progress and you haven't been able to budge. The obstacle may be that there sin that needs to be confess, but it may also be that God just hasn't given the victory at Afton that God calls you to follow him and serve him as the God of victories is the God who takes his people forward in by his power, not by our power gives us the promise land. I remember when I was in college one of the courses in English literature studied some of the great classics, especially Christian Classics often had on his final exam first quote which I forgot from some piece of literature American literature and then the question please discuss this in terms of the following question.

Is it possible to have a Christian tragedy very interesting question presupposes a knowledge of what is genuinely Christian presupposes a knowledge of what are really the tragic elements of literature and what it was asking for was that kind of penetrating analysis which the end of an exposition of that theme says no final analysis, it's never possible to have a Christian tragedy because although Christianity recognizes the tragic elements. Nevertheless, also service the God who is greater tragedies, the sovereign, benevolent, loving, merciful God, who in the end, triumphs, and whose will is done we want to be is on the side of that God want to be in his army want to be fighting his battles because even though it sometimes happens in this life that we experience momentarily and sometimes protracted periods of defeat, violent analysis, the armies of the Lord Jesus Christ are triumphant kingdom of God does come the banner of the cross is arranged in Jesus Christ as glorified forever spray our father we ask you to strengthen us by what we know you in your way, we wouldn't be rash or neglectful of those failures in life that require confession, forgiveness and cleansing where we have been held back by sin we desire again to bring it before you and confess that I might be laid away. Our father without a slide. We do rejoice that when we are called to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We are not called to serve the losing team rather to follow him was the all powerful sovereign, gracious, loving all wives omnipotent God is our father make us faithful servants, obedience, disciples, the praise of the glory and the victory of Jesus Christ are you listening to Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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