Summary: This sermon deals with the OT character Achan and how his sin impacted others
Joshua 7 – “Our choices and their results”
Verse 1 is something of an explanation of
WHY Israel is about to suffer defeat against the small village of Ai
But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan … of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.
Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai.
And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.”
So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent.
And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.
Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads.
And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan!
O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”
The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned…
I’ve entitled our time in the word “Our choices and their results”… let’s pray
Life is – in many ways – a series of choices.
SOME of our decisions are fairly innocuous, like, “What will I eat for lunch?” or “What color shirt should I wear to church?” Though we face decisions like these a hundred times a day… these are relatively harmless. (Unless, of course, we decide NOT TO wear a shirt to church. .. in that case we have widespread PANIC!)
OTHER decisions, however, are much more significant, like,
“How will I live my life?”
“Will I obey the Lord or live for myself?”
THOSE choices have major consequences… as we see in our text.
The children of Israel had just accomplished something once thought IMPOSSIBLE. After the death of Moses, Joshua led them to their FIRST victory in battle as they attempted to claim the Promised Land as their own. The walled city of Jericho was their FIRST obstacle, the FIRST test of their faith after crossing Jordan.
In unorthodox fashion, God told Joshua to march around the city each day without making a sound, and on the seventh day they were to march around the wall 7 times – and when they finished, the priests were to blow their horns.
That’s it… They obeyed this “crazy” battle strategy, trusting the Lord – and God toppled that wall and the city was utterly destroyed.
That’s what happens when you obey the Lord, folks. When you do what God says, you have His blessing and power to do things once thought IMPOSSIBLE!
2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless (or – completely devoted) toward him.” God empowered Israel to defeat the formidable foe of Jericho, because Israel obeyed the Lord.
Next up was the small village of Ai. After sending spies on reconnaissance to spy out the land, the report came to Joshua that the village was so small they would only need a portion of their military force. 3,000 troops would be MORE than sufficient to defeat the village of Ai.
But those 3,000 troops didn’t know who they would be fighting against that day! Filled with unusual power, the men of Ai struck down Israel, and those who weren’t killed, ran away in defeat.
As if losing wasn’t bad enough – Israel ran.
Keep in mind, prior to this moment the Canaanites were deathly afraid of Israel. They had HEARD the stories of God’s great power and provision. And the Bible says that as the people of Israel marched toward Jericho, their hearts melted in fear.
BUT NOW??? After seeing how the little village of Ai humiliated Israel, the people of Canaan would be emboldened to join forces with their neighbors and run Israel out of town.