Good morning!
Text:  Joshua 7-9;  Psalm 54
There is a pattern in this part of Joshua, seen in the failed first attempt on Ai and also the Gibeonite deception.  When the Israelites go up against Jericho, they prepare by seeking the Lord, by coming into obedience to him (recall the circumcision and Passover observances).  They attack and “fight” the way the Lord told them, and He brings the miraculous victory.  Next up is the city of Ai.  Here, rather than carefully seeking the Lord first, they just use their own wisdom and military strategy and get whipped.  There has been sin in the camp, and the Lord has withdrawn His mighty hand. The pattern repeats in part when they encounter the tricksters of Gibeon.  The Israelites fail to seek God’s counsel here either, and they make a bad deal.

So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. (Joshua 9:14)

This pattern is very common in the lives of God’s people – then and now.  We experience a great victory with God.  Then, sin creeps into our lives and we neglect to stay close to the Lord.  Our next event doesn’t go so well.
Here’s the lesson:  In every step of life, we open ourselves up to trouble whenever we fail to stay close to Jesus.  Our ongoing life of  prayer, confession of our sin and engagement of God’s Word is how we walk in victory.  It’s like boxing.  Keep your hands up and don’t let you guard down.  And, every day and in every step along the way, stay tight with Jesus.
in Him,  Mike