When all is right with God, it is much easier to lead with confidence. Joshua had grieved the loss of his men at the first battle of Ai. He grieved the sin of Achan and the punishment and pain it had caused. So, after dealing with the sin and dealing with the loss–God picked up his leader and gave him back the confidence to continue. And continue Israel did.
This time God told Israel to take all the spoils of the battle. He devised the plan to ambush Ai. He knew they would be cocky and confident and would not think like soldiers. He was right. Ai left themselves unguarded and their city open to attack because they were going to show those Israelites a thing or two. Israel seized on their overconfidence and destroyed them. As the people finished up the battle and divided the spoils, Joshua was able to breathe. He had again brought the people back in line and in right fellowship with God.
Joshua was again reminded He was a shepherd–not a general. His job was to lead his people to follow the Lord. It was God’s job to then clear the land for the people.
One of the most difficult parts of following the Lord is placing our confidence in Him, and not placing it in our own abilities. It can lead us to make choices we regret, and or place us in positions where our overconfidence leads to our own destruction. If we lead like Joshua led, seeking God, and allowing Him to lead us–then, the Lord will do amazing things. If we try to wrestle control away from the Lord, God will allow us to have control but, He will also us to fall into the traps that come with it.
God Bless You
And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. 2 And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.”
3 So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. And Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night. 4 And he commanded them, “Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you remain ready. 5 And I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. And when they come out against us just as before, we shall flee before them. 6 And they will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city. For they will say, ‘They are fleeing from us, just as before.’ So we will flee before them. 7 Then you shall rise up from the ambush and seize the city, for the Lord your God will give it into your hand. 8 And as soon as you have taken the city, you shall set the city on fire. You shall do according to the word of the Lord. See, I have commanded you.” 9 So Joshua sent them out. And they went to the place of ambush and lay between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai, but Joshua spent that night among the people…. And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22 And the others came out from the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. And Israel struck them down, until there was left none that survived or escaped. 23 But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him near to Joshua.
24 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword. 25 And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai. 26 But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.[b] 27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the Lord that he commanded Joshua. 28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day. 29 And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. And at sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.