Summary: To God, if one commits sin, then the whole others in the community are also responsible. If one of our members committed sin, then all the church members are also responsible.
We just read chapter 7, but Chapter 6 describes one of the most amazing battles the Israelites experienced. Jericho was a fortified city with a wall around it. What Israelites did was simple. Obeying God’s command, they marched silently around Jericho once each day for six days, then on the seventh, they marched seven times around the city. Then, the priest blew the trumpets and they all gave a loud shout and the walls collapsed and they destroyed every living thing in it. It was an amazing victory.
But, chapter 7 starts with ‘but’, meaning something went wrong in the battle against Jericho. In fact, “the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.
But, Joshua didn't realize what happened in Jericho. So he sent the army to fight the city of Ai, which was a small city where only a few people lived, but the Israelites were defeated and 36 of them lost their lives. At this, the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.
Joshua must have been so discouraged, frustrated, and even furious that he could have blamed and punished the spies who gave them wrong information and the commanders. But, he neither punished them nor summoned the commanders to come up with a new plan of operation. Rather, what Joshua did, he went to the Lord because he understood the nature of the battle and he knew the battle belonged to the Lord.
In his prayer, Joshua poured out his frustration to God, but at the end of the prayer he said, “What then will you do for your own great name?” (v. 9) His major concern was not himself or his people, the Israelites. Rather, his primary concern was about the name of God, the reputation of God.
Jesus taught us to pray for God’s name hallowed, God’s kingdom, and God’s will. (Matthew 6:9-10) We are called to seek His name, His Kingdom, and His righteousness as of first importance.
As Joshua prayed with such heart seeking His name and His Kingdom first, God revealed to Joshua that one man has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done an outrageous thing in Israel by stealing the devoted things. Also, God warned that they couldn't stand against their enemies until they removed the devoted things among them.
So early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes to choose one tribe and then by clans to choose one clan and then by families to choose one family, and finally man by man so Achan was chosen.
Then Achan acknowledged that he had sinned against the Lord saying, “When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” (v. 21) He said, “When he saw, he was tempted and committed outrageous crime…”
Do you remember how our first ancestor broke God's command? "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it" (Gen 3:3)
Seeing is wanting and being tempted. then committing sin.
We Christians in the New Covenant era are no exception. Apostle John tells us, “If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them." Then why and how we love the world? Because we all tend to be tempted by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. So we have to deal with and overcome the lust of the eyes.
Last week I shared my problem with Peter that I spent many hours watching Youtube. I am not any better than Achan. The only reason that I still exist is because of God’s grace. But, I don’t think I am the only one who exists by His grace. This generation offers so many distractions and temptations. We have to confront the lust of the eyes head on more than people of the previous generations. Many years ago I decided to get rid of TV so I don’t have TV at home. But I couldn't get rid of the internet. The internet provides a lot of good services. And the Youtube videos that I watch are not necessarily bad ones, but they still hinder me from spending time in His word. It is so easy to waste my time watching TV or Cell Phone rather than the word of God. We are in a daily battle of what to see. I hope you and I make a firm decision today to spend more time on the word of God. But, at the same time, I believe we need more than just personal decisions.