Joshua 7

Joshua 7 begins the reality of the human race.  They had just seen God knock down the walls of Jericho by their walking around them seven times.  And now, almost before the dust has settled “the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things….anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel”.  Why is it so difficult for us to just be obedient to God?  We see his hand at work and yet we think none of His instruction applies to us?  Joshua has no clue this is happening so he sent spies to check out the next target and then sends “about 3,000 men” to take on the next enemy.

That didn’t go well.  “The men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men….the hearts of the people melted”.  C’mon God, you brought us into this land and now, at our second challenge, we lose?  Joshua is frustrated and confronts God along with his elders. “Why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us”?  God doesn’t hold back in his response.  He blasts Joshua and His people.  “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned”.

So often we are quick to point fingers at God for not taking care of us, or doing what we think He should.  The reality is that almost always, the reason is not God, but us.  In this case, God makes it clear that some among His people “have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings”.  That was in direct disobedience to what God instructed, and also what Joshua told the people.  But someone did not obey.  And the result?  God says “I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things….he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire”.  Not just get rid of the spoils God told them to leave behind.  But get rid of the people that caused this sin to happen.

Joshua follows God’s direction in identifying the perpetrator through a series of casting lots.  When Achan is confronted, he freely admits that “I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them”.  He had brought them home and hid them in the ground inside his tent.  Joshua sends his men to recover the contraband and then, “they burned them with fire and stoned them with stones”.  Not just Achan, but those in his family as well.  Seems like a pretty severe penalty doesn’t it?  But there is always a high price for sin.  God’s standard is not something that carries a small price tag.  And Joshua wanted no part of being on the wrong side of things with God again.

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