1. I invite you to come back with me about 3,500 years ago. We belong to God’s chosen people our people have spent 40 years wandering in the desert going from place to place like nonmds with no place to call home. We have been eating manna and quail every day but were able to withstand the hardships because of what lay ahead. We knew that one day we would be given our own land in which God would make us a great nation. We knew that this land was a rich land, over flowing with milk and honey. We knew that God promised that he would give us the victory over the people that lived there.
2. And now that promise has become reality. We have come to the edge of this land, by the bank of the Jordan River. We send spies to spy out the land. They learn that the people are afraid of them. And so they come back to us and we cross the Jordan. And just like God did for our fathers, He opens up a dry path through this mighty river. We are finally home. We thank God and circumcise ourselves and our sons. We even ate of the produce of the land - some unleavened bread and some roasted grain. That did taste good!
3. And then we come to Jericho. We march around it seven times and then the walls fall down and we destroy all that is in the city. God had given us the victory. He is so good! His promise has come true and the future looks so bright. With Him on out side, nothing can stop us.
4. But we must move on next we must take the city of Ai. There are only a few men there and so we send only 3,000 men to take i. But something strange happens. They stop our men, chase them away and even kille 36 of them. Our hope is turned to despair, our future seems bleak. "Where is God? Why did he not give us the victory?" Our leader Joshua is beside himself - he teats apart his cloths and falls face down before the ark. The elders do the same.
5. Joshua asks God why He did this to us? Did He brings us this far only to destroy us?
6. As we look back we can undersatnd how the people must have felt but the problem they faced was not God’s fault but rather their own fault . For they had committed a terrible sin we might even look back and question if this sin was all that bad.
7. God thought is was so bad and evil that unless they would truly repent of it and set things right with Him, He would no longer be with them.
8. What was this terrible sin? God had told them to destroy everthing in Jencho except for thosethings which could not be destroyed. These things - silver, gold and articles of bronze and iron were to be devoted to the Lord. They were sacred to God, they belonged to Him and were to go into His treasury.
9. And only one person, Achan as we find out later, took a beautiful robe from Babylonia, 200 shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing 50 shekels or 1 1/2 pounds. Was God not overrating somewhat to this sin? All Achan did was steal a little and then lied about it.
10, The problem was this sin - for all sin is an abomination to God, But problem was much greater. For the sin was deeper than that.