Ai the 3-Way Ambush – It’s interesting the battle was not to be fought at Ai or in the city itself. It was to be fought in a different location. The principle is we cannot expect to have victory over our bondages, addictions, weaknesses, etc. when they (the enemies) determine the place we war. For example, it is very difficult to have a financial problem and expect to defeat it by test-driving new cars. It’s very difficult to overcome sexual addictions by looking at pornography. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to overcome alcoholism by frequenting bars.
The Book of JOSHUA – POSSESSING THE KINGDOM
By Pastor Delbert Young
Ai the 3-Way Ambush
Ai the 3-Way Ambush
Scriptures: Matthew 11:12, Joshua 7:4, Hebrews 12:1, Joshua 8:1, Genesis 12:8, Joshua 8:2, Luke 12:34, Luke 6:45, Joshua 8:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Joshua 8:29, Colossians 2:14, Colossians 2:15
We are in a series called POSSESSING THE KINGDOM. As we have seen, the kingdom of God is not a futuristic event. It is something we are to be “possessing” and taking now.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
The kingdom of God is a place where all of God’s children’s needs are met – spiritual, emotional, and physical. It’s where we enjoy the abundant life Jesus came to give us. If you are not experiencing the abundant life, then perhaps you need to become more spiritually violent.
We are using the book of Joshua as our guide in this study. As we saw last time, the children of Israel were actively POSSESSING THE KINGDOM when they encountered a problem at Ai bringing defeat. Ai was a small city. However, Ai EASILY defeated God’s people and many lives were destroyed.
Joshua 7:4 So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai,
The problem was a man named Achan had taken the accursed thing and hid it among his stuff. God revealed the problem to Joshua and Achan was dealt with, BUT AI WAS STILL THERE AND YET TO BE DEFEATED. God did not simply cause Ai to come crumbling down or explode and be no more. They had to deal with Ai.
Even when I have separated my stuff from God’s stuff and avoided touching accursed things, Ai is still there. Allow me to go ahead and give you the typology of Ai in POSSESSING THE KINGDOM.Ai represents the thing you struggle with in life. It is a stronghold the enemy has in your life. It isTHE THING you should defeat, but can’t without God’s plan for battle. It is the thing keeping you from expanding God’s kingdom and your own life if it is not defeated.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
If we are going to run our race, live our dreams, and POSSESS OUR KINGDOMS then we must deal with Ai. There is a thing – the thing – that can easily entangle you. There is a thing that could easily hinder your living a victorious life. It’s your Ai and has the potential of ruining you. You can pray, tithe, minister, read, etc. but still, this one thing capable of defeating you so easily IS STILL THERE. It’s your Ai. We all have an Ai and God wants its power over you destroyed.
Joshua 8:1 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land.
The Hebrew word Ai when traced to its root is `iy pronounced ee and means a ruin (as if overturned), a heap. The first use of Ai in the scriptures is Genesis 12:8 where we find Abraham camped between Ai and Bethel.
Genesis 12:8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east…
This is the same place Joshua finds himself (Josh 8:9, 12). Bethel means the house of God and is the place God wants us to be. It not only speaks of church. It speaks of our having God’s best for our lives. Ai means a heap of ruins. Isn’t it interesting we often find ourselves camped someplace between God’s best and a heap of ruins? We never seem to acquire God’s best and we are always threatened by Ai. God doesn’t want this for us. He wants us to conquer the thing capable of bringing us to ruin and move on into God’s best and abundance.
The defeat at Ai discouraged God’s people. We too become discouraged when we observe our lives and realize Ai has power over us and the ability to ruin us. So, we find ourselves camped someplace between God’s best and Ai – a heap of ruins. This way we can visit both, but the power of Ai must go if we are going to POSSESS THE KINGDOM. God has a plan!
What is it that easily entangles and defeats you? What is it that has the potential of destroying you spiritually, mentally/emotionally, or physically? GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU TO CONQUER IT. We need to identify our personal Ai. To some it may be a habit. To others it may be an addiction. To some it is anger. To some it is spending money. To some it is procrastination or laziness. To some it may be pornography. It can be anything, but it has you someplace between God’s best and ruin and you know it, if not dealt with, it has the potential to destroy you. That’s Ai.
Can I encourage you today and tell you God did not save any of us to live defeated lives? He did not save us to live someplace between success and failure in fear and discouragement. You are saved to live in victory.
Joshua 8:2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, EXCEPT THAT YOU MAY CARRY OFF THEIR PLUNDER AND LIVESTOCK FOR YOURSELVES…
OH YES! The Lord said his children would defeat Ai just as they defeated Jericho, BUT THIS TIME they would get to keep everything. There are always great rewards and plunder when we defeat the power of Ai in us. The plunder may come in the marriage you desire. It can be the plunder of better health. It can be the riches more financial liberty, or a better and sounder mind. THE POINT IS THE DEFEAT OF THE POWER OF AI MEANS PLUNDER AND ABUNDANCE FOR US. You know Ai takes or could take from you.
I want to attempt to say something very interesting to me. God told Joshua to utterly destroy the Canaanites, yet he saved Rahab and in next weeks lesson he will save the Gibeonites. He told them to destroy and burn some cities, but yet he redeemed the gold and silver and bronze and after Jericho, anything the people could plunder was redeemed. My point is even in Ai – the thing that so easily entangles us – God’s redemption is at work. The evilness in every battle was utterly destroyed, but the good was redeemed to expand the kingdom. Some plunder, something golden, is always taken into the kingdom when we defeat the power of evil. Let me show you how this works. You and I are in the kingdom of God, right? In every area of your life there is something redeemable God wants for the kingdom. There are things that must be destroyed and burned, but there is so much good in each of us too even though we all have an Ai.
The Lord got the plunder of Jericho. We get the benefits of Ai. Jericho was a first fruit principle. Achan never learned this principle. He wanted to keep God’s stuff for himself. It was a stronghold bringing destruction to his life and to the life of his family. Had he but given the first fruits to God, he and his family could have lived and experienced the abundant riches from Ai. I want to encourage you to make certain God gets the first fruits and he will make certain you get the plan to defeat your Ai – the thing capable of defeating you.
I want to take a moment here and encourage you parents to work this principle into your children. Teach them to make certain God gets the first part. Don’t allow the stronghold to destroy them or affect the lives of your grandchildren. Encourage them now to give a tithe on their allowance and money they make cutting grass or babysitting. Get them to give God their first fruits now and they will struggle much less with the stronghold of addictions and problems later. You need to trust me on this one. I have been the pastor of this church for many years. I have watched children grow up, marry, and have their own families. I want to tell you the children who tithed when they were young and continue to tithe have had far less difficulty with addictions, negative habits, and defeat in their lives than the ones who did not. See, tithing is not about money. Tithing is about the attitudes of the heart.
Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 6:45 A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart…
Parents, you will face a lot less Ai’s with your children if you will get them to give their first to God.
Joshua 8:9 Then Joshua sent them off, and they went to the place of ambush and lay in wait between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai – but Joshua spent that night with the people.
The Lord gave Joshua the plan. The plan was a 3-WAY AMBUSH! 30,000 warriors would position themselves secretly behind the city. 5,000 warriors would position themselves secretly to the west. Joshua would march from camp with several thousand and lure the armies of Ai from the city. When the army of Ai came out of the city, the 30,000 would capture the city and set it on fire. Once this happened the 5,000 and the 30,000 would spring the ambush on the armies of Ai. The armies of Ai would be surrounded and destroyed. Ai would be plundered and its power destroyed.
It’s interesting the battle was not to be fought at Ai or in the city itself. It was to be fought in a different location. The principle is we cannot expect to have victory over our bondages, addictions, weaknesses, etc. when they (the enemies) determine the place we war. For example, it is very difficult to have a financial problem and expect to defeat it by test-driving new cars. Don’t mishear what I am saying. Does God want us to have a nice car? Absolutely, but does it have to be new or today? Just get my point please. It’s very difficult to overcome sexual addictions by looking at pornography. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to overcome alcoholism by frequenting bars. It’s impossible to overcome anger during a time of road rage or in an argument with your spouse. It’s impossible to overcome gluttony at an all-you-can-eat seafood bar. You get my point, right?
Don’t fight the battle with your Ai on its turf. It has to be ambushed.
WHAT IS GOD’S PLAN TO DEFEAT YOUR AI? AI MUST BE AMBUSHED BY A 3-WAY AMBUSH IF WE WANT THE VICTORY.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If we want a total victory, it must be victory in the spirit, victory in the soul, and victory in the body.
I want to be practical, but not offensive. I was trying to find an Ai, a stronghold that would be practical and to which we could all relate, yet not hurt anyone. So I decided to use overeating or gluttony. How many of us have ever overeaten before? Good, so no one can point fingers or feel left out. If gluttony can be seen as an Ai, then to defeat it we will need to ambush it with a 3-way ambush of the spirit, soul, and body.
The things of the spirit need to attack from one side. We need to pray, worship, fast, praise, give, attend services, fellowship, read the Word of God, minister, etc. All these are important, not just pray or read. I need 30,000 in this ambush. I need a total spiritual commitment. Of course, I pray about the situation, but also my doing the other things such as ministering to people help me. I am more apt to have my life and appearance and health in order when I am attempting to minister to others. The spiritual ambush is ambush #1.
The soul ambush is ambush #2. The soul is the attitudes, will, thoughts, and emotions. I have got to have a good attitude about conquering Ai. If I can have the correct attitude about eating less, being healthier, clothes fitting better, looking nicer, etc. then I will maintain my ambush and not quit. I need to have a strong will. I need to mentally prepare and pre-think my actions. I need to avoid all-I-can-eat food bars, see myself not overeating, pushing away from the table, and not getting seconds. If I am not seeing the victory as quickly as I would like, I need to keep my emotions positive so I won’t become discouraged! If I will do this, I will begin to see Ai defeated.
The body is ambush #3. This is the physical ambush. My stomach is going to growl and want more. It’s used to telling me when to stop eating and it will be angry and growl and roll and pitch a fit just as a child will pitch a fit when he or she does not get their way. I can’t afford to lose the battle there. If I do then the ambush and work of the spirit and the soul will be for nothing. Ai will escape and live to defeat me again.
You can defeat overeating and gluttony, but it will take a 3-WAY AMBUSH. You can defeat any Ai, but it will require a 3-WAY AMBUSH. We could talk about finances, anger, drug addictions, lusts, etc. and the principle will be the same.
I want to encourage you today. What is your Ai? What is it capable of ruining you if you do not defeat it? Ambush it. Utterly destroy it power. Hang its authority from a tree.
Joshua 8:29 He hung the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take his body from the tree and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate. And they raised a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day.
Jesus did this for us. He took those things – those Ai’s – and he hung their evil authority to his tree.
Colossians 2:14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Don’t allow your Ai to defeat or ruin you. Through the work of Jesus Christ, God has already given Ai and all it’s plunder into your hands. POSSESS THE KINGDOM – LONG LIFE, HEALTH, PROSPERITY, HAHPPINESS, PEACE, JOY, AND FULFILLMENT.
I want to encourage you today. There is a kingdom to possess within you. Identify your Ai. What is it with the potential to ruin you? Are you camped some place between God’s best and the thing that so easily entangles you? God wants its power over you destroyed. He wants to redeem something giving you abundance and plunder. He did not call you and save you to live a defeated life constantly fearing and being discouraged by Ai. Ambush it. Attack it on your grounds. Set up a 3-way ambush with your spirit, soul, and body. Realize through Jesus, Ai has already been defeated and the plunder awaits you, so attack it with THE THREE WAY AMBUSH!
How many want to experience the plunder and abundance coming from destroying Ai’s power over you? Give the Lord a shout and a handclap. Amen!
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