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Victory and Defeat

Key References: Joshua 6; 7; 8; Patriarchs ad Prophets, chaps. 45, 46, pp. 487-504; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 3, pp. 88-91; Our Beliefs nos. 5, 3, 17

Power Text

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

Power Point

Our service will be a success when we follow God’s plan.

As you did last week, imagine that you are waiting for your father to return from helping friends move to another region. Now you hear that he must also help them attack and conquer some cities. Continue to read the messages between a young Hebrew, Baram, and his father, who is helping the rest of the Israelites enter Canaan.

Baram!

You will never guess how Adonai conquered Jericho for us! For six days we marched silently around the city, but on the seventh day Adonai delivered Jericho into our hands! Again we arose early and began marching around the city, but instead of circling it only once, we marched around it seven times. On the seventh time around the city the priests blasted their trumpets, and all of the soldiers began to shout. You can’t imagine what a deafening sound it was as thousands of men shouted and the trumpets blasted! Then we all gave one very loud shout, and the walls collapsed!

We all rushed over the broken rock and mortar and entered the city from every side. Everything was destroyed, every living thing except the woman Rahab and her family. She had protected two Hebrew spies when they were in danger of being captured in Jericho. We were instructed to collect all of the precious metals such as silver, gold, bronze, and iron and set them aside for the treasury of Adonai. Everything else was to be burned. We were not to take anything for ourselves.

Baram, I tell you this so you will know of Adonai’s awesome victory over Jericho.

—Abba

Shalom, Abba,

I love your stories from the Promised Land. I’m sure that every battle will be as easy as conquering Jericho. We don’t even have to fight! Adonai fights for us! The God of Israel rules. I can’t wait for your next letter. Please write soon.

—Baram

Shalom, Baram,

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Ai has been destroyed, every last person. Our people plundered the city’s riches and took all the livestock, too.

The bad news is that 36 of our men died in battle and one in camp. Let me explain. Without seeking Adonai’s advice on this matter, Joshua sent about 3,000 soldiers to take Ai. Our army went up against the city, but the men of Ai came out ready for battle and quickly overpowered our army. Thirty-six of our men were killed, and the rest turned and fled.

The survivors came back to camp, and the whole camp was confused, discouraged, and distressed. We did not understand how we could be beaten, especially after our victory at Jericho. Joshua and the elders of the camp went before the ark and stayed there the whole day. Finally, Adonai revealed the cause of our defeat: When Israel entered Jericho after the walls fell down, someone took some of the things that were to be set aside for Adonai.

Joshua told us to consecrate ourselves; the next day Adonai singled out the one who had defiled the camp by taking things from Jericho. It was Achan. He took money, gold, and a beautiful robe. Before the day was done, Achan and everything that belonged to him were destroyed.

Soon after that, Adonai instructed Joshua to take the whole army and attack Ai. Thirty thousand men went out at night to wait behind the city. The next day another 5,000 men were sent to the west of the city. The rest of us set up camp in front of Ai. The next morning all the soldiers of Ai came out to attack us, and we fled. We drew them away from the city, and Joshua gave the signal for the men lying in ambush to attack and burn Ai. When we saw smoke rising in the distance, we turned on our enemies and attacked them. Adonai was with us, and that day He delivered Ai into our hands.

Baram, this has been a bitter lesson for us, suffering defeat to Ai, but we must not be discouraged. We must always remember to seek Adonai for His will, and we must be careful to obey His commands.

Take care, my son. I will come home and see you as soon as I can.

—Abba