Joshua waited for his spies to return from Ai. “So, what do you think? Can we take it?”
One of the men nodded. “Ai isn’t anywhere near as big as Jericho. We’ll only need two or three thousand men to wipe them out.”
Joshua nodded once. “Good. That’s what I was thinking, too. Choose three thousand of our best and get it done.”
A couple of hours later the men came running back to camp.
Joshua stood and waited for them to catch their breath. “What happened?’
The man in charge looked at Joshua. “I don’t know. We thought they were going to stay in their walls. When they came rushing out at us we panicked, I guess. As near as we can tell thirty six men died back there.”
Joshua tore his robe open. “No…we’re doomed.”
He walked into the tabernacle and fell before the ark. No words came so he just let the tears flow.
As the sun neared the horizon he poured out a prayer. “Why, Lord? Why did we cross the Jordan at all? We could have settled over there. There was plenty of land for us. Now the people here will band together and destroy us completely. What will You do for Your great name then, Lord?”
God’s voice was clear and loud. “What are you doing on your face, Joshua? The reason you failed is because I’m not fighting for you now. Someone took some stuff from Jericho. Everyone knew that was off limits. Assemble the tribes. I’ll let you know which tribe they’re in. Bring that tribe by household, then family, and then man by man. The man who took the accursed things must be burned with the items along with everything he has. Then I will restore My power to your efforts.”
Joshua did as commanded to discover Achan had a robe, gold and silver from Jericho hidden in his tent. Achan’s entire family was burned and covered in stones to erase any possibility of a recurring event.
Ai was then soundly defeated. Further conquests began with council with God to ensure victory.
I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here. I’m sure glad I live on this side of the cross of Jesus. God’s grace is much better to live with than His justice.
Joshua didn’t have that luxury. He lived with a simple formula to live by: obey God and receive His blessings, disobey God and receive His wrath.
Achan thought one person taking some of Jericho’s spoils wouldn’t effect anybody. After they conquer the land he’d be able to enjoy this stuff and probably help his family move ahead quickly because of the wealth they’d start out with.
He forgot one extremely important thing about God. You can’t hide anything from Him. God sees every hidden item and knows every secret you have.
Now I have to ask: are you trying to hide anything from God?
Notice I said “trying” to hide. People can be fooled. They only see things with their eyes.
God is omnipresent. He’s everywhere. You can’t hide anything…and I mean anything, from Him.
Those emotions you’re holding back, God knows all about them. He’s waiting for you to tell Him about them. Find a secluded place if you need to and let it out in prayer. I don’t mean a simple, quiet prayer you say before a meal.
I’m talking about a scream at God as if He was standing right in front of you type of prayer. He’s your loving heavenly Father. He can take it. He’ll still love you with His unconditional love only a true father can give.
This may mean sending everybody away so you have the house to yourself or going for a long drive alone. Whatever it takes…do it so you can move away from it now.
You may have to dig deep into a closet and throw some items away that are keeping you stuck to a past event, relationship or habit.
The best way to move forward is to remove everything that entangles you and keeps you from moving ahead.
You can’t take any items with you when you die. Don’t let them kill you now.
Achan took only a few items. Those things cost 36 fighting men and his entire household their lives.
I don’t expect you to be perfect, neither does God. I’m just using this moment to get you do look deep inside to discover what’s holding you back.
You do want to live your life more like Jesus. Don’t you?
He didn’t have any closets. He didn’t even have a house or apartment to hide anything in because He never had anything to hide.
Time talking to God was such a priority to Him He missed out on sleep to gain as many minutes with His heavenly Father as He could.
He wrote the Bible so spending time reading it wasn’t necessary for Him. We need to spend as much quality time in the Bible as we can fit in.
Prayer is our chance to talk with God. Reading the Bible is God’s main means of communicating with us.
I don’t mean a quick scan by reading the entire book in a year. I’ve done that in the past and found it lacking in really hearing God speak to me. It was good at developing the discipline of setting aside daily time to concentrate on something related to my relationship with God, but that was the most I got out of it.
Read a section until something catches your attention. Then re-read it while asking questions that come to your mind. Savor it like you enjoy a good meal.
A spiritual meal is exactly what you’re getting.
God is feeding your soul while drawing you closer to Him.
One of the lessons Joshua learned about Ai was in contacting God before the battle.
If he had than he would have discovered the transgression sooner.
Victory only came after the sin was dealt with.
I’ll see you later. Wade