So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are running away from us as they did before.’ So when we flee from them, you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The LORD your God will give it into your hand. When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the LORD has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.” 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. Early the next morning Joshua mustered his army, and he and the leaders of Israel marched before them to Ai. The entire force that was with him marched up and approached the city and arrived in front of it. They set up camp north of Ai, with the valley between them and the city. Joshua had taken about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. So the soldiers took up their positions—with the main camp to the north of the city and the ambush to the west of it. That night Joshua went into the valley. – Joshua 8:3-13
Adolph Harstad writes:
The carefully conceived plan should not escape our notice. It is God who plans the strategy. He instructs His minister, Joshua, to lead the people according to His own spoken words. The church is to follow the same method as it carries out Christ’s mission to the world. Christ’s spoken words set the agenda for Christ’s ministers and for the entire body of believers. Some may balk at following Christ’s simple mandate to baptize and to teach everything He has commanded, as if the Word and Sacraments are not enough for the church to rely upon. Other Christians may think that the church must rely on spontaneity and impulses rather than planning a mission strategy or evangelism outreach. Our chapter with its careful, practical plan shows that the church militant is not to be haphazard, but is to launch a coordinated effort precisely following the words of the LORD in order ot carry out the work of the LORD.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 42
Q. 42. What is the sum of the ten commandments?
A. The sum of the ten commandments is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.