“Now the Lord said to Joshua: ‘Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.'”
Israel’s failure at Ai was due to the sin of both Achan and Joshua. Achan’s sin was following his desires, and taking into his life that which God had forbidden. Joshua’s sin, while equally as destructive, is somewhat more subtle. Joshua failed by moving forward without consulting the Lord. He chose to look at his circumstances and his resources, and do what seemed logical at the moment. The result: he sent a battalion of men into a battle they were certain to lose.
Joshua’s failure is recorded for us because it is common to all of us. We are constantly faced with decisions requiring direction from God, and we all know times in our lives where we have attempted to move ahead without His counsel. Joshua’s story was written for our example, so we would learn the value of looking to the Lord when making life decisions.
Seeking direction from God is not always as mystic as it sounds. Sometimes, it is as simple as taking the situation I am facing and looking through the Bible to find stories where others faced similar circumstances, and learning from their example. If you are not sure where to find the verses in the Bible that speak to your struggle, take the time to consult with godly friends who can point you to specific passages, where you will find clear direction. Keep in mind, when facing decisions, it is not the opinion of other believers you are looking for, but their help in directing you to the counsel of the Word.