In Joshua chapter 8 we read about God’s instructions to Joshua for the defeat of the city of Ai.
The difference between God’s instructions to defeat Jericho and his instructions to defeat Ai are striking. Jericho was conquered with a very un-military plan. The tactics were more spiritual than military involving circling the city with the ark and the priests blowing trumpets.
The instructions for the defeat of Ai were very different. They were very much of a tactical military nature, involving an ambush ( Chapter 8:2) with Joshua and his men beating a false retreat as a decoy ( verses 14-16) drawing the men of Ai out of the city leaving it vulnerable and unprotected for the men in the ambush to attack ( verse 17 ). Once the men of Ai had been drawn out of the city Joshua signaled for the men in the ambush to attack the city and set it on fire which they did ( verses 18-19). When the men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of their city rising they were powerless and disheartened ( verse 20), and then Joshua and his men turned on them while the men of Israel in the city attacked them from the rear, so the men of Ai were caught between the Israelites and defeated ( verse 22). It was a brilliant tactical military plan involving psychological and military warfare, working very effectively.
Another noteable difference between the attack on Jericho and Ai is that the people were not permitted to take anything for themselves in the defeat of Jericho ( Joshua Ch 6:18-19) where in the attack on Ai they were allowed to take booty for themselves ( Joshua Chapter 8:2, 27).
The two game plans were very different and it goes to illustrate that God never does the same thing twice. In facing challenges in our lives with God there’s no cookie cutter, one size fits all solution. When we face a difficulty we must listen closely for God’s specific instructions, solution, game plan for the problem.
Every situation we face is unique, we are all unique, so God’s solutions are unique.