Joshua 7 - Achan and defeat at Ai
With the defeat of Jericho Israel had reason to feel confident. Sometimes success is more difficult to handle than failure.
Joshua hastily deplored some men to go and spy out Ai. After all that is what he had done with such success when taking Jericho. Why change something that works. There is no record of God being consulted.
The commander of God's army (Joshua 5: 13 - 15) must have watched on in astonishment as the Israelites prepared for a battle that he knew nothing about. Their confidence was in their own strength. How easy it is for us to fall into the same temptation today.
Is your confidence in your ability to pray or God who answers the prayer?
Meanwhile, Achan had consciously defiled the Word of the Lord (Joshua 6: 18-19 & Joshua 7: 1) and kept back a little booty for himself. He could not bear to see all those precious items waste away in the House of the Lord. By the way, do you rob God in any way (Malachi 3: 8 - 12)?
The combination of over confidence and sin resulted in the defeat of Israel (Joshua 7: 5 - 6). Joshua immediately sought the face of God about their defeat.
The result was the exposure of Achan's sin and the destruction of his entire household. A severe punishment indeed.
Why was the sin of Achan punished so severely?
Could it have been because of what the Israelites were representing and teaching us? (1 Corinthians 10: 1 - 13). Achan's household was not just suffering for the sin of Achan but also for the effects of his sin. Sin kills. It's influence spreads much further than the boundaries of the person who committed it.
There are sins such as acts of occult and other demonic practices that some of our fore fathers got involved in that are still affecting some of us today.
The only way to stop the destructive power of sin is to expose it, repent and deal with it. In this dispensation we do not fight with flesh and blood.
We do not need to kill ourselves to eradicate sin because Jesus has died for us. No one had died for Achan so he had to die himself. All those affected by his sin also had to die. We do however, need to expose sin in our lives by renouncing it. Giving it up and turning back to the Living God. Is there any hidden sin in your life?
Achan sure hid his sin very well (Joshua 7: 21). It still killed him. Sin is like cancer. It kills. Repent of any sin in your life today.
There is no little sin. Lying, killing and adultery all go in the same category of sin. Do away with it now before it does away with you.
Questions on Joshua 7
1. Were the children of Israel aware that God was angry with them? (Verses 1-2)?
2. Why did the men suggest that only 2 - 3,000 people go up against Ai (verses 3 - 4)?
3. Have you ever made a major decision without consulting God?
4. What was Joshua's immediate response to the defeat of Israel?
5. Why is sin and disobedience so destructive? (Joshua 7 & 1 Samuel 15:20-23)
6. How should we deal with sin in our lives?
7. Why was God's punishment on Achan so severe?
8. How can we receive the mercy of God when we sin? (1John 1:5-10, 1 John 2:1-2)
9. What other lessons have you learnt from Joshua 7?