Summary: Be vigilant, because we are all vulnerable. Don't compromise, because we will lose out.
[Read Josh 7:1-6, 10-15, 19-21]
This is one chapter most people would like to omit from their books. No one likes to talk about failure or defeat, about their greed and sin.
• Up to this point, Israel had been experiencing victories, one after another, from chapter one to six.
• The possibility of a defeat was furthest from their minds, particularly right after Jericho. They were probably feeling superior.
Sadly chapter 7 opens with a BUT. “But Israelites acted unfaithfully…”
• They failed God. They sinned against God and transgressed His clear command.
• It would be easy for Joshua to drop this chapter and move on to chapter 8. It would be quite seamless, actually, if you see how chapter 6 ends and chapter 8 begins.
• No one would have noticed. But Joshua did not. God would not. This book is inspired by His Spirit. God has a purpose.
Without chapter 7 we would missed out on God’s lesson for Israel, and more importantly, for us today.
BE VIGILANT, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL VULNERABLE
1 Cor 10:12 “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
We are all prone to temptation and sin. We are all capable of disobeying God’s Word.
No one is immune.
• James 1:13-15 “When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
• The Word says WHEN tempted, not IF. It will come, and very often, at a time when we are least expecting it.
• And we are not careful, we can allow our desires to run freely without checks, with no reference to what God said.
I saw TWO DRIFTS here in chapter 7 – two drifts away from God.
• First, we see the soldiers gaining confidence. They had crossed the un-crossable river and overcome the insurmountable Jericho.
• Ai was next, but Ai was nothing compared to Jericho. It was a small city, with less people.
• The spies’ verdict was: “Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it…” (7:3).
• They were talking about numbers. They were referring to their strength. In the army, when we say “report strength” it means count the number.
That was their first drift. They started to take their eyes off God and began to look at their strength and capabilities.
• The danger begins when we start to put confidence not in WHAT GOD CAN DO but in WHAT WE ARE CAPABLE of achieving.
And then came the second drift – moving away from God’s clear instructions.
• One man, Achan, took what was forbidden by God – the “devoted things”.
• The command was given in Josh 6:18-19 “But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into His treasury.”
• No reason was given for this. But it is clear that no one gains materially from these wars personally. Israel must continue to trust God to supply their needs.
One man decided to go against God’s command. Achan took a beautiful Babylonian coat, 200 shekels of silver (2.26kg), and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels (565gm).
• 7:21 “When I SAW in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I COVETED them and TOOK them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."
• You see, you feel and you act. This pattern has not changed.
Adam and Eve had the same experience in the Garden of Eden.
• Gen 3:6 “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.”
King David had the same experience on the roof of his palace (2 Sam 11:2-4).
• He SAW a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful and he WANTED her. David sent messengers to GET her.
The lesson is clear, be vigilant. Be careful what you see. Watch what you allow into your mind. Don’t just take in everything on the internet.
• What we see affects our affections and desires. If we take in garbage regularly, we will end up like trash. Garbage in, garbage out.