A Dark Reversal
Most Holy God, mature and deepen my faith as I remember the willing sacrifice of the Lord Jesus for me.
Read Joshua 7:1-9
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Sin rears its ugly side at Jericho. Power gives birth to selfishness and miscalculation of the strength of the enemy” (J. Gordon Harris).
In this vivid story, the writer gives us prior information which was at first unknown to Joshua. We have been told the real issues from the beginning, and we are therefore led straight to the heart of the matter: what happens when God’s people act treacherously toward him? From a human perspective, one man yielded to the sin of covetousness, but from God’s perspective the nation has broken his covenant and so become just like the peoples that are around them. Just as the hearts of Israel’s enemies melted in fear (Josh. 2:9,11,14), so now in Israel the people’s hearts melt and become like water (5).
There are several different situations in the Old Testament where spies are sent out to give advice for plans for a forthcoming battle; after all, it is a sensible military strategy. Yet the conflicting responses of the spies range from fear to faith, and (as here) from faith to sheer complacency. With Joshua and Caleb in Numbers 13 there was the conviction that although, humanly speaking, the odds were stacked against them, yet with the Lord’s help they would prevail. Here there was no suggestion for the need of any divine intervention. The battle would be a pushover. The atmosphere was one of sheer complacency. There was no need to consult the Lord. As readers, we already know the reason for the failure; Joshua did not. Already, without their even knowing it, Achan’s sin was affecting the whole community. Even Joshua fell in with the spies’ complacency and did not call on the Lord until he had to fall down before him with the rending of clothes in sheer confusion. Even then he came with a series of accusing questions, even suggesting that God’s own reputation depended on Israel’s success.
Can you recall a time when you failed to be vigilant and fell into sin? What precautions can you take to keep from repeating that mistake?
Lord, may Your searing holiness keep me on my toes, so that my living faith and assurance does not lapse into lazy complacency.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.