Awesome Hands – part 165: “The Fall of I”

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Awesome Hands – part 165

The Fall of I

February 9, 2020


The destruction of Ai or “I” is what our study will be about today. At first glance, various stories in the bible do not always appear to be talking about anything but what is immediately apparent, but our story today is all about our struggle with the flesh and kindled anger the Lord will bring to it.

Our verses for consideration today are found in Joshua 8. There are many verses in this chapter that have the word “hand” in them, so we will cover the entire chapter in this study.

Jos 8:1  And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
Jos 8:2  And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.

As always, the Lord knew and knows the exact events that need take place in order for His plans to execute perfectly. For the sake of Israel, the Lord tells Joshua exactly what to do in order to win the battle that is about to take place.

For us as Christians, this is no different. However, the thing to always keep in mind is that the Lord alone is the power behind these plans being successful or not being that He creates all the details to make them come to fruition.

It is important to note that the Lord did not give the spoils of the land to Israel when they sacked Jericho. In fact, the taking of the spoils of the battle with Jericho is what leads to the arrogance of the king and people of Ai.

You’ll notice I used a little wordplay with the title of this study. Joshua 8 is titled, “The Fall of Ai” in e-Sword and in some translations.

However, this story is really about the Fall of “I”, the fall of the flesh. Interestingly enough, the Lord uses the flesh to judge itself with its own sins.

Mat 12:36  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:37  For by THY WORDS thou shalt be justified, and by THY WORDS thou shalt becondemned.

Luk 6:45  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

The abundance of “good treasure” or “evil treasure” is what is brought forth of the Lord. What we need to remember is that there is a stony heart that is replaced by a fleshy heart, and it is the fleshy heart only that can have good treasure. After all, it is all of the Lord.

Pro 16:1  The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
Pro 16:2  All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
Pro 16:3  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

I don’t know if it was easily caught, but when we commit our WORKS unto the Lord, our THOUGHTS shall be established to accomplish that work. It is when our “good treasure” from the heart is tapped into that we then are given instructions to execute that work of the Lord.

Job 33:15  In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Job 33:16  Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
Job 33:17  That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
Job 33:18  He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.

Here we find ourselves being told by the Lord, through the story of Joshua, to take the city of Ai. Let us now walk in the steps of Joshua to conquer the flesh that so easily besets us.

Jos 8:3  So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night.
Jos 8:4  And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready:
Jos 8:5  And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them,
Jos 8:6  (For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them.
Jos 8:7  Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand.
Jos 8:8  And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the LORD shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.

If you’ll hearken back to the previous chapter, the men that went up against Ai initially had only taken 3 thousand men, and Israel was sent running with some casualties taking place for Israel.

The soldiers and king of Ai no doubt had a lot of confidence from that victory given that the Israelites had just conquered Jericho yet Ai soldiers were able to defeat Israel.

Indeed, the flesh of “I” always seems to be so confident in the things “I” gets away with in the past. The Truth is that “I” doesn’t ever get away with anything because every single moment is recorded in the mind of God and indeed it is all taking place so that the Lord can use it for good later.

When Joseph put the cup in Benjamin’s sack, Benjamin was going to “partake of the cup” to bring about good for all of his family.

This cup was used for the catalyst of ultimately bringing good to Joseph’s family.

Gen 44:1  And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man’s money in his sack’s mouth.
Gen 44:2  And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
Gen 44:3  As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
Gen 44:4  And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?
Gen 44:5  Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.
Gen 44:6  And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words.
Gen 44:7  And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing:
Gen 44:8  Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold? 

“Lord, Lord haven’t we done good in thy name”. (Mat 7:21-23)

Gen 44:9  With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.
Gen 44:10  And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.
Gen 44:11  Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack.
Gen 44:12  And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.

I just read all these verses to show how confident the flesh is against the Lord. When we think we are in the right, oh how confident we are to proclaim our innocence.

Yet, unbeknownst to us at the time, the Lord, the king in type in shadow as seen here in the person of Joseph, is setting us up to be REQUIRED to come before His judgment seat.

The men of Ai, that is to say the “old man of I”, is always confident in his upcoming and unforeseen defeat when it comes to battling the men of God.

Jos 8:9  Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people.
Jos 8:10  And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
Jos 8:11  And all the people, even the people of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai.
Jos 8:12  And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
Jos 8:13  And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
Jos 8:14  And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city.

Isn’t this how it always seems to unfold? I almost feel badly for the king of Ai. From his perspective, they are minding their own business one day and they hear about the city of Jericho being assaulted by a foreign invader that came across the Jordan river.

Then, after Jericho fell these same invaders are now coming to his city. The king’s job is to protect the people, and he has no idea that the God of Israel was angry with the children of Israel when he had his small victory against them that sent 3000 men running.

Now, this same army has come again, and Ai sees them trying their same ol’ stunts outside his city.

Where the king goes wrong is, he trusts in his past victories as if they will somehow help him when his current battle.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? The “king of I” thinks because he was able to do something successfully in the past, that will somehow equal victory now. The downfall of Ai is their pride in going up against the Lord even though they are going up against the people of God.

Jos 8:15  And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
Jos 8:16  And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city.
Jos 8:17  And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.

It takes a whole lot of confidence to utterly fail at protecting your own city and people. The king of Ai was so overfilled with confidence that he left his city completely unprotected.

Jos 8:18  And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.
Jos 8:19  And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.
Jos 8:20  And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers.
Jos 8:21  And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai.
Jos 8:22  And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
Jos 8:23  And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.

Whenever the flesh turns back to see the clouds of smoke coming from the fire of God, it is too late for the flesh. We have various stories that tell us that this is true.

The ways of all men:

Job 34:21  For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.
Job 34:22  There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
Job 34:23  For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.
Job 34:24  He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.
Job 34:25  Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.
Job 34:26  He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;
Job 34:27  Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways:

Lot’s wife:

Gen 19:23  The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
Gen 19:24  Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
Gen 19:25  And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
Gen 19:26  But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

“Drawing back”:

Heb 10:38  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Heb 10:39  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Heb 10:38  (ISV)  but my righteous one will live by faith, and if he turns back, my soul will take no pleasure in him.”

“Putting the hand to the plow”:

Luk 9:59  And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
Luk 9:60  Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
Luk 9:61  And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
Luk 9:62  And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Anytime we look back, it is a fleshy act and thought and the Lord will destroy the flesh for it.

Israel thought several times that it might be better to go back to Egypt than to be doing what they were doing at the time even as early as being brought to the red sea to cross it.

When Ai, or also know as “I”, in this study, looks back and not forward, we are doomed to be consumed in the fire of the Lord. For our flesh, this is not good, but the result is more of the new man remaining.

1Co 3:11  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
1Co 3:13  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved;yet so as by fire.

The “king” of the flesh, in this case “Ai”, needs to be dethroned for the work of the Lord to be established.

Jos 8:24  And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
Jos 8:25  And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.
Jos 8:26  For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
Jos 8:27  Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua.
Jos 8:28  And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.
Jos 8:29  And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.

One kingdom must end so that another can begin. The foundation must be destroyed of the old so that the foundation of new can proceed.

Nowhere in this study have I stated that we of ourselves do this work. In fact, it is all of the Lord and His work in and through us.

However, we do in fact DO the work. We work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, but it is the Lord working it in us to do this.

Never take confidence from the flesh because it will fail in the end to do anything but lead us to more death.

The life we are after only had one way to it, and we must continually look forward in our Faith because that is when the Lord locks it in place in our fleshy heart. That is when our thoughts become established.

Pro 16:1  The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
Pro 16:2  All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
Pro 16:3  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established

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