Most of you are probably familiar with Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho: “And the walls came tumbling down.”
Shortly thereafter, he was involved in another, less known but no less historic battle – the ambush at Ai.
The Ambush at Ai
Joshua found himself in a valley near the city of Ai. The king of that city had heard about Joshua – word about the battle of Jericho had spread throughout the land.
Now Joshua was in the king’s neighborhood. And the king saw his chance to wipe out Joshua and all the people with him.
So the king hastily gathered every single one of his warriors together to go after Joshua’s brigade. The king wasn’t going to take any chances. He would destroy all of them.
The gates of the city flew open. The king’s entire army rushed out.
Joshua and his people saw this mighty group approaching. But they were in a valley – with the king’s legion of soldiers in front of them and a large hill behind them.
What should Joshua and his people do? What would you do?
They did what any rational human being would do under those circumstances. They ran like mad!
The king pursued them. Victory was clearly in sight.
How did Joshua – the master blaster who brought down all the walls of Jericho with just trumpets – find himself in this situation?
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He planned it!
That’s right – he took time to plan. Then he clearly communicated his plan to his troops and they quickly took action on it. Here’s how it went really down:
Just like Jericho, Ai had these massive walls all around it. So, under the cover of darkness, Joshua had sent 30,000 of his troops to hide behind the city of Ai. Then he sent another 5,000 to hide beside the city.
Joshua moved the rest of his troops on top of the hill. The king may have seen this group but he just thought they were moving through the area.
He found out differently the next day.
Joshua and his band of fighters had moved down the hill into the valley. The king knew they were coming; he would respond with all his might!
So he quickly gathered all of his warriors together. The gate of the city flew open. The king marched out with his entire army.
Joshua saw the king coming. He fled!
The king pressed on, barking out orders to hurry. Joshua was right where the king wanted him. This was to be the end of Joshua and the king would be famous for taking down the miracle man.
Joshua kept retreating. The hill was approaching. The king knew he had Joshua trapped. It was only a matter of time now.
“Hurry, hurry”, the king shouted to his men.
Suddenly Joshua turned his brigade toward the advancing throng. The king signaled his army to stop.
His mind was racing: “What was Joshua doing? There’s no way his small group can take on my mighty mass of men. This guy must be crazy.”
The king didn’t see what had happened behind him. He and his troops rushed out of the city in hot pursuit of Joshua. After they were out, Joshua’s 5,000 soldiers rushed in. They sent smoke to signal Joshua and the other troops. Ai belonged to them.
Upon seeing the smoke, Joshua turned his people around. The troops who were hiding behind the city rushed out.
So when the king turned around to seek advice from his inner circle of soldiers – to see what they thought Joshua was doing – he saw 30,000 soldiers nearly surrounding him on two sides.
He looked back toward Joshua. He and his throng had the king surrounded on the other two sides. The king and his army were trapped.
The ambush at Ai. The king – who thought he would wipe Joshua out – got wiped out himself. Joshua and his people had conquered another city.
The king was reactive. He didn’t have a plan. He just acted – quickly and in a hurry. He died.
Joshua was proactive. He carefully crafted a plan which he communicated to every one. He implemented it step-by-step. He conquered. He acted quickly, but he wasn’t in a hurry. That led to bigg success!
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(Image in today's post from bible.somd.com)