Joshua 7:1-12

Talks for Growing Christians

Israel is Defeated at Ai

Joshua 7:1-12

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Lesson Number 11

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. There are definite causes for defeat in the believer's life.a. Disobedience (7:1), b. Overconfidence (7:3), c. No prayer (7:6-7, 10)
  2. There are definite consequences of defeat in the believer's life. a. God is angry (7:1), b. Others are affected (7:1, 11), c. Blessings are withheld (7:12)

Practical Application

  1. Are you an Achan?


  1. What was Israel's military strategy for the conquest of Canaan?
  2. Name the beginning point of the central campaign.
  3. How does this portion of Scripture illustrate God's program for this world under judgment?
  4. What kind of a city was Ai? Why did it have to be conquered?
  5. How many military defeats did Israel suffer during the conquest?


  1. To divide and conquer.
  2. The destruction of Jericho.
  3. As with Rahab, only people will be saved out of this world, because it is programmed for destruction.
  4. It was a small city, about fifteen miles from Jericho up on the ridge line. Ai was strategically placed, blocking one of the natural passes up into the hill country. It had to be conquered if the central campaign was to move on.
  5. Only one, and that was at Ai.


  1. Review the three causes for defeat in the believer's life. Discuss the meanings or spiritual applications for you, as a believer. Are you in any way robbing God? Have you ever suffered defeat after a spiritual victory? Do you turn to God first in prayer or do you move ahead in your own strength without consulting Him?
  2. Review the three consequences of defeat in the believer's life. Discuss the spiritual applications for you, as a believer. How do you respond to God's discipline? Do you really believe that you can sin in a vacuum without affecting others? Have you experienced a standstill in your life because you have not dealt with sin? See 1 John 1:9.


  1. Are you an Achan, a troubler? Is the forward progress and blessing on the Lord's people held up because of your sin? Don't be an Achan.

Key Verses

  • "The children of Israel committed a trespass...because of Achan's sin." (Joshua 7:1)
  • "Do not let all the people go up, for the people of Ai are few." (Joshua 7:3)
  • "Alas, Lord God.' 'The Lord said to Joshua, 'Get up!" (Joshua 7:7, 10)
  • "Israel has sinned...therefore they could not stand before their enemies...destroy the accursed from among you." (Joshua 7:11-12)

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