Yesterday, we saw that for the majority of the book of Joshua, God has given instruction and Joshua responds to that instruction in obedience. To this point, Joshua has had great success as the leader of Israel.
Today, however, from the first verse we see a completely different tone: “But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things…” Joshua sends spies into the land of Ai, and the spies return with a very good report. They are so confident in their chances that they tell Joshua they don’t even need to take the full army. Joshua listens and the army that he sends gets embarrassed.
Joshua is distressed at this. He runs to God (for the first time that we see in the chapter) and God basically says that the reason they lost was because of the sin of Achan. Yes, Achan was the one who sinned, but in the covenant kingdom of Israel, all received judgement because of this sin.
For Joshua, perhaps he was not without fault himself; it seems that he might have had so much confidence in his army that he did not seek the Lord about this invasion (and there was no instruction from God to pursue in the first place). No matter who is at fault, what we know is that sin is the reason that the Israelites faced defeat on this day.
When applying this passage to yourself, it is helpful to realize a Biblical principle: the greatest problem in all of our hearts is our sin problem. Sin is what separates us from living the way God designed us to live, and even when we have been redeemed from sin by the blood of Jesus, sin can still have negative effects on us.
In what ways is sin holding you back to living how God has designed you to live? What is the sin that you want to deal with the least? Will you take a step of faith today to ask God to help you deal with this sin? Will you ask others to pray for you and keep you accountable as you seek to be obedient to God? What does obedience even look like?
In Christ we have been given the power to say no to sin and yes to righteousness. Church, may we live as those redeemed today!
By: Graham Withers