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. 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. Set an ambush behind the city.” – Joshua 8:1-2
Adolph Harstad writes:
Joshua was grief stricken when the men of Ai routed Israel. Now, to assuage his former despair, the LORD heaps up encouragement personalized for him. It is a new day, by God’s grace! Achan and his cherem have been buried, and the LORD has turned from His anger. It is time for Israel to get on with the conquest.
The LORD Himself is the one giving the orders and directing the battle plans. Joshua and Israel will be sure victors as they carry out the LORD’s word, as is true for the church militant in every age. … The conquest of the king of Ai and all that belongs to him is as good as accomplished before a single Israelite sword is drawn because the LORD has already “given” them into Joshua’s hand. While God does not need any human help or anything that man can supply (Acts 17:25), He chooses to employ means to accomplish salvation. Here the army of His people is the agent of His victory at Ai. On the cross it will be Jesus Christ who is God’s agent to accomplish salvation once for all for humanity.
That the LORD’s wrath is followed by His favor not only points to the death and then the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it is also a reminder that shocking scandals and apostasy may bring disaster on parts of the church – and eternal damnation for the faithless – but the church of the risen Christ will be revived and will live on by His grace. The LORD’s mercy shines again on all who look to Him.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 41
Q. 41. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.