Bouncing Back

July 10, 2022

David Sorn

After the tragedy of sin in Joshua 7, the Lord gives Joshua and the Israelites a pathway to bouncing back in Joshua 8.

Bouncing Back

July 10, 2022

David Sorn

After the tragedy of sin in Joshua 7, the Lord gives Joshua and the Israelites a pathway to bouncing back in Joshua 8.

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Joshua 8: 1-29

VOLUNTEERING (Serving Slide)

Good morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

Before we get into our message for this morning, let me too say something about serving here at Renovation Church.

We mentioned last week that we have 136 different volunteer needs.

As of yesterday, we had filled 58 of them (so about 42% of the way there)

Which is a good start.

Here’s another interesting stat for you though: Over 80% of our remaining holes are in just 3 different teams.

Renovation Kids (which has exploded in growth)

Our Ushers Team (which is the team that helps people find a seat, which is going to be a VERY important role come this Fall)

And our Crew Team (which does really important work behind the scenes to put out the papers you see, or communion, Bibles, etc. after each service)

If you’ve been coming here for a while, but you’ve been stuck in cruise-ship mode (like a lot of Americans engage w/ churches nowadays): Coming in consuming a message just for you, and walking out, today’s the day to snap out of that.

This is a different kind of church:

We want you to come here like Jesus wants you to come here, not as a consumer, but as a servant.

So, if you would, go out to that volunteer board after the service…see where the needs are…and serve there.

Deal? Okay.


All right, let’s get into our message for this morning.

We have been studying the Book of Joshua this summer

Joshua takes place in the Old Testament when the Israelites are making their way into the Promised Land

So far we’ve seen the Israelites miraculously cross over the Jordan River, and then we watched as the Lord made the walls of Jericho come tumbling down, and the city was defeated.

But then last week, as we covered chapter 7, things went a different direction.

As they conquered Jericho, they Israelites were told not to take any of the plunder that time.

The precious metals were to go into the treasury of the Lord, and everything else was to be burned.

And yet, an Israelite named Achan took a fancy Babylonian Coat, and a bunch of silver and gold for himself.

And because of Achan’s sin, the Israelites failed miserably in battle when they tried next to attack the town of Ai.

And we spent last Sunday, in a heavy message, talking about the effects of sin.

But this Sunday, we are going to talk about how things bounce back and turn around for the Israelites

Because, Achan’s sin has been dealt with; it’s time to move on.

In between chapters 7 & 8, we’re in that in between spot where you’ve confessed your sin to the Lord, but now what?

How do you bounce back?

Some of you are in that exact spot right now.

After last Sunday, many of you confessed sin to one another…or made decisions to start coming back to the Lord.

But now what?

How do you actually bounce back and starting walking well w/ God again?

Chapter 8 will give us a good framework for that, but let me first be honest here: It’s hard to bounce back.

Think about the Israelites for a second.

After the waters of the Jordan river stopped flowing and they walked across, their faith was sky high.

After Jericho’s walls miraculously tumbled down, they thought there was NOTHING that would stop them from quickly taking over all of the promised land.

And then sin and all of its devastation entered into their midst.

And they got routed in battle at the city of Ai.

And they lost their courage…it the Bible said their hearts melted in fear.

Because, Coming back from failure is hard.

I think this is one of the harder things to do as a Christian.

But we all will face this as Christians…sometimes more often than we would like.

So how do you bounce back?

Everybody grab a Bible and let’s find out:

(Joshua 8:1)

(Page 150)

Go ahead and pick it up.

It won’t be on the screen…because we want you to hold it, and study it.

Let’s start with just verse 1 because there’s a lot of wisdom in it, and then we’ll keep reading more in a few minutes

(Joshua 8:1) – NIV

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.


(Title Slide: Bouncing Back)

Well, how does God tell Joshua and the Israelites to bounce back?

What does it say in God’s Word in verse 1?

God says:

Do not be afraid.

Do not be discouraged.

This is our first piece of advice for how to bounce back (to get off the ground and bounce back up to walking with God again):

How to Bounce Back:

#1: Don’t be discouraged or afraid

There’s a nod both to the past and the future here.

Firstly, the past: God is telling the Israelites, you can’t get discouraged about what has happened.

The same is true for you: You can’t let your past paralyze you from the future.

Because some of you are there.

You messed up your marriage.

You lost your job…maybe because of your own poor choices even.

You keep committing the same sin over and over

And IF like the Israelites, you WANT to confess, repent, and turn from your sin,), God is saying, “Step 1 to bouncing back is: Don’t be discouraged.”

Why? Why is God saying that to Joshua right now?

It’s not because God doesn’t care about sin, it’s because their sin has now been dealt with.

Achan has confessed. Justice has been served.

It’s the same for the Christian.

Let me ask you a question, Christ-follower.

If you have confessed your sin to Jesus, do you believe He paid for it on the cross or not?

And if you do, then you’ve got to leave your sins there.

Nailed to the cross.

Don’t nail them back on yourself

They’ve been nailed to the cross

“Do not be discouraged” it says

Because you can’t bounce back up when you take your old sins, and nail yourself to the ground in discouragement.

Don’t be Discouraged

Your sins, the past, has been paid for.

And the Word of God also says, “Do not be afraid.”

Discouragement is about the past, but fear is about the future.

God knows we have problems with both.

What did God tell Joshua?

He says, “I have given the City of Ai into your hands”

Joshua has nothing to fear in this instance because God has guaranteed his future victory.

(Title Slide: Bouncing Back)

And the same is true for you.

Now don’t twist it as some do today to say, “God has guaranteed you some future job, or prosperity”

What the Bible talks about is much more important than that.

As a believer in Jesus, your future, and forever-victory, is secure in God

God has secured your future victory and salvation from Sin, and as a deposit on that future victory, He’s chosen to walk with you now!

Author Dane Ortlund tells us we can picture that truth like a dad wading into the ocean with his 3-year-old son

They are walking along just fine until a wave comes and knocks the 3 year old off his feet a bit

And then another wave comes, and the young boy starts to lose his grip on his dad’s hands.

Is he unsafe? Will he fall?


Even if the child himself starts to let go, the Father will never let go.

This is the truth of the God’s Word, and it’s why you don’t need to let your fear stop you from bouncing back up.

Even if you’ve let go for a while, God never let go.

So bounce back up.

He’s still got you.

Don’t be discouraged about the past (he paid for your sins), don’t be afraid of the future (he is with you).

Do you hear these truths this morning?

We say that we believe the Bible is the lamp of truth in the darkness.

Let these lights shine on your heart and mind.


And as you bounce back up and start walking with him again, I will tell you that you’ll find goodness in His Timing and His ways.

Let me show you what I mean:

(Joshua 8:2:-8)

(Page 150)

(Joshua 8:2-8) – NIV

2 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.” 3 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 4 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. 5 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. 6 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, 7 you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hand. 8 When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.”

Okay, here we’ve found the 2nd way to bounce back:

How to Bounce Back:

#1: Don’t be discouraged or afraid

#2: Walk in God’s timing and direction

There’s a fascinating and surprising part of verse 2.

Take a look at it.

This time, at the City of Ai, what does the Lord tell them to do with the plunder?

He tells them they can carry off any of the plunder for themselves.

But that’s what caused all of the trouble at Jericho last chapter!!

Achan took some of the plunder!

But at Jericho, they weren’t supposed to touch it, but to trust God …to give to Him first.

Maybe they were to give to Him first, as it was the FIRST city they conquered.

Maybe God just wanted to test their obedience.

Or maybe now, their supplies are running low and he knows they need extra food, etc.

In any case, the Israelites just need to trust in God’s timing

And the crazy thing is, now Achan’s sin of stealing at Jericho looks incredibly foolish and shortsighted.

Achan could have had everything his heart desired if he just would have waited on the Lord’s timing a few days.

And when you’re coming back to God, you must remember this truth:

Walk in HIS timing. Wait for Him.

Don’t seek after the pleasures of the world just because you can get them now

To those looking for the right work environment, but are tempted to settle, WAIT

To the single people in the room, I urge you, WAIT.

Wait for that Godly person to come into your life.

To all of us…WAIT.

Walk in God’s timing.

Many Christians, in their impatience, have plunged into sin like Achan, only to create a mess for themselves.

A mess they could have avoided if they had just waited for the amazing things God has in store for “those who wait”

And so we trust not just His timing, but his DIRECTION.

What’s fascinating here is that God gives them detailed directions on how to fight this battle.

They’re supposed to march up to Ai and then set an ambush behind the city with other troops.

And how interesting is this?

This is nothing like God’s battle plan for Jericho

This is not marching around the city for a week

(Title Slide: Bouncing Back)

Here’s the thing: God is not a formula.

This is not paganism with some sort of rigid incantation you must recite make spiritual powers do your bidding.

Have you seen those new colored pictures of the universe this week?

God is King of that!

You don’t control Him with A + B = C

God is GOD.

Not us.

And so if you’re going to start walking with Him closely again, you must lean into Him and learn His specific direction for you now.

Don’t just assume it’s going to be the same as last time or the same as someone else’s journey.

Lean in…press into Him.

Get talking to Him every day again.

And do less talking this time, and more listening.

Ask Him to speak to you, to guide you, and show you how to bounce back and walk with Him again.

Remember, the theme of the Book of Joshua is to teach you how to walk closely with God in the Promised Land of faith.

And so much of that is about listening and obedience.

I think of our recent amazing Tanzania Team that I spent almost 2 weeks with overseas.

All of the people from our church that went felt God whispering to their hearts…Go to Africa!

But listen, if you don’t think they had objections to going, or fears, you’re completely wrong

Many of them used almost all of their Vacation Days from work, they had to leave little ones at home, or they were scared to go, but they heard God calling “saying, Now’s the time! Go!”

They pressed into God’s timing, God’s direction.

And God stretched them in unimaginable ways.

They did things they never thought they would do before they left on the trip!

Every day they shared their testimonies on the streets of Tanzania in crowded marketplaces.

I shared with some of you about one of team members who was sharing about their testimony on a street corner and explaining the Gospel.

And they were doing so, a man was walking by, but unbeknownst to us, he was in a deep depression and on his way to take his life.

But He heard our team member sharing about the Gospel, and he stopped, listened, and then turned around and gave His life to Jesus instead!

It’s an amazing story, but you have to know that there were probably 10-15 little steps of obedience by our team member first.

“You want me to do what Lord?”

“I’m sorry, what???”

“And share my faith, here? In front of all of these people?? Now???”

Yes, if you’re going to bounce back, and you’re going to see Him move again, and walk in faith again, you just trust whatever plan He lays out in front of you.

What is He saying?

Where do you need to go?



Even if He leads you to some place scary. Go!

And that’s what we learn in our next section

Verses 9-12 describe Joshua and his army getting ready, so let’s jump to verse 13

(Joshua 8:13-19)

(Page 150)

(Joshua 8:13-19) – NIV

13 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.

14 When the king of Ai saw this, he and all the men of the city hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle at a certain place overlooking the Arabah. But he did not know that an ambush had been set against him behind the city. 15 Joshua and all Israel let themselves be driven back before them, and they fled toward the wilderness. 16 All the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away from the city. 17 Not a man remained in Ai or Bethel who did not go after Israel. They left the city open and went in pursuit of Israel.

18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand I will deliver the city.” So Joshua held out toward the city the javelin that was in his hand. 19 As soon as he did this, the men in the ambush rose quickly from their position and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it and quickly set it on fire.

(Title Slide: Bouncing Back)

And for time’s sake, I’ll summarize the rest:

The passage then describes how the men of Ai are trapped in between the two divisions of the Israelite army and are quickly beaten.

And victory goes to the Lord’s people.

But there’s an important principle in this particular section we must not miss.

Especially if you’re just coming back to God.

We just read last week in chapter 7 that the Israelites suffered an embarrassing and humiliating defeat at the city of Ai.

It was an awful moment for them.

But then, after they confess their sin, and get right with God again, they’re letting go of their fear and listening to His direction…

where does God send them? Where does He lead them??

Keep in mind there are plenty of cities they need to go conquer in the promised land.

But where does God send them?

Right back to their place of failure.

And this is a third principle we see in Joshua 8

How to Bounce Back:

#1: Don’t be discouraged or afraid

#2: Walk in God’s timing and direction

#3: Believe that God can bring victory in the place of your defeat

I don’t know His timing in it.

It may be now. It may be much later.

But I know that He can do it.

And He’s often quite interested in it.

The City of Ai would have been the hardest city for the Israelites to conquer after such an abysmal failure.

There’s no element of surprise anymore.

The people of Ai are on high alert, ready, and not only that, they’re confident they can defeat God’s people now!

Israel’s spiritual enemy, the devil, was probably whispering in their ear:

“You’ve already been defeated here. Don’t try this again. It’ll be even more embarrassing the next time! You better watch out!”

And perhaps the enemy has been telling you the same lies about your failures.

“Don’t go back there. Don’t try and fix that. You remember last time. You better watch out!”

But God says, “You send that snake a message!”

You tell him, “I’m bouncing back! But this time, I’m following HIS plan, and I’m walking with His power, so YOU better watch out!”

God is a God redemption.

Of turnarounds.

Of Renovation.

Of taking something that was broken, and making that same broken thing new.

But see…

Some of you are going, “I can’t love my husband again, it’s a mess right now”

You can! God can do that in you!”

Some of you are going, “I can’t stop living in fear. It’s just taken over my life”

You can stop. God can give you courage.

…because God LOVES to bring victory where there was once defeat, because that’s often where it’s the most obvious to us that only He deserves the glory!

I was really struck by Alexi’s baptism testimony here at second service last week.

She bravely shared that she had gone through a miscarriage.

Which is so painful, and so hard.

And if you’ve been there, it’s really hard to go back…to that same place…and try again

In part because we don’t know the Lord’s will.

But there she was, standing on the stage getting ready to be baptized, talking of God’s goodness, while 8 months pregnant.

Listen, we don’t know His will, but we are still called to walk in faith…even up to the city where we’ve been defeated before.

And if you’ve begun to confess your sin to God again, and are in the process of trusting Him that He can bounce you back

And let me encourage you, there are people all over this room who have seen God bring victory where there was once defeat

They had a major, embarrassing loss at the city of Ai, but now with the Lord’s direction and power, the city of Ai has been destroyed in their life.

I see former addicts in this room…who couldn’t go 24 hours without going to their substance.

But they let God lead their lives again, and now their job has been restored, their family’s been restored…their life has been restored.

Where there was once defeat, now there is victory…

And there out there sponsoring and helping other people get free.

I look over here and I see people who used to hate their own family members.

Going to visit family was absolute torture.

And now, God has given them an overflowing love for their family…and is changing their family from the inside out.

Where there was defeat, now there is victory.

I mean goodness, you’re listening to someone speak right now who used to literally MOCK Christians and tear them down with his voice, but now God, in his mercy, saw fit to use that same voice to build them back up.

He’s the God of redemption.

And there’s nothing He can’t do

And so it’s time to bounce back.

Let’s do this.

Let me pray.



(Keep up motion background with no words)

We talked about the grace of God and how we can come back to Him, but maybe you need to come to Him for the first Time.

(explain Gospel)

(I’ll sit in front)

For everyone else, I can’t encourage you enough, to check out that volunteer board on the way out today, and find a way to pick up an oar with us.

God is doing great things here…be a part of it.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.

JULY 17, 2022