Joshua 7:1-9 (ESV)
But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel. Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai. And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.” So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water. Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads. And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord GOD, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”
Friday we ended our devotion looking at Rahab and the deal she made with the Israelites to save her family and herself. Jericho was destroyed by the Israelites doing what the Lord told them, and they left no one alive, except Rahab and her family.
Immediately after that, Achan took some of the spoils, because like most of us, he was greedy. He coveted the cloak and money. So he took it. This caused the Israelites to fall victim in battle, because the Lord’s protection was no longer able to stay with them.
God demanded absolute obedience. When the Israelites were coming out of bondage in Egypt and for forty years, they continued to sin, and slip back into worship of false Gods, or doubting God, grumbling because of the Manna, etc., God was trying to teach them, that they would be a great nation if they obeyed Him, but not if they disobeyed. He was displacing the pagan nations who did evil, and abominable practices with the Israelites, giving the Israelites their land, to make a nation to set an example for the rest of the world.
But if He was going to do that He had to have absolute obedience. So if you have time, read the rest of the chapter, and see what happened to Achan because of his disobedience.
God is supreme. He is worthy. He is to be obeyed. Yes, we live under Grace, and the Law does not apply the same way to us that it did to the Israelites. But God is still God. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that we can live doing whatever we want to do. We cannot ignore the sin in our lives. We should repent, and God will have mercy.
Praise the Lord for His Mercy! Forgiveness is a wonderful thing. Let us follow His example and give grace and mercy to others as well.
by Virgil Stripes