Summary: This sermon from the Book of Joshua covers the consequences of disobience of God's word.
The Consequences Of Sin
I’m not going to take time to read all of Joshua chapter 7 right now
I will cover it as I preach this sermon.
We all commit sin.
1 John 1:8 says, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
People who commit sins such as adultery
think they can keep it a secret.
The truth is, we never sin alone because we are never alone.
Someone always sees what we do
even when we think we got away with it.
A man named Achan learned that lesson the hard way.
The tragedy of his sin is
that it brought the nation of Israel into a terrible defeat.
Last Sunday I preached on Joshua at the battle of Jericho.
Today we look at Joshua chapter 7.
In Joshua chapter 6 we read about the thrill of victory.
In Joshua 7 we read about the agony of defeat.
This is the only defeat the Jews suffered in the conquest of Canaan.
Look now back at Joshua 6:27.
So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.
Jericho was the chief Canaanite city.
If Jericho could fall to Joshua, what city could stand against him?
Maybe the Jews became overconfident.
Perhaps that’s the explanation for what happens next.
So with your Bibles open to Joshua chapter 7 look at Verse 2.
 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, "Go up and spy out the country." So the men went up and spied out Ai
Jericho was near the Jordan River, not far from the Dead Sea.
Ai was up in the mountains to the north and west of Jericho.
Verse 3: And they returned to Joshua and said to him, "Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few."
Ai was a tiny outpost compared to mighty Jericho.
The spies were acting as if they had conquered Jericho
in their own strength.
No! Jericho fell because God was with them.
Now they are leaving God out of the equation.
That was a bad idea.
 So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai.  And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.
That failed attack resulted in 36 Jews being killed.
The Jews were chased away by the men of Ai.
What should have been an easy victory turned into a total disaster.
How in the world could that have happened?
When word of this shocking defeat reached Joshua,
this is how he responded in verse 6.
 Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.
Something had gone horribly wrong.
God had promised to be with them wherever they went.
Somehow the people of God have done something wrong.
At this point in the story, only God knows the true explanation.
The key to this story is the instruction
Look back at Joshua 6:17-18.
 Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.  And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
They were to bring any precious metals to the treasury of the Lord.
Everything else must be burned.
Of the thousands of soldiers involved in the attack,
only one man violated that order.
Although Joshua doesn’t know it yet,
one man’s greed led to Israel’s defeat at Ai.
One man disobeyed, and that’s why there are 36 deaths.
One man disobeyed, and that’s why the army ran in defeat.
One man disobeyed, and that’s why the nation was put to shame.
Before going any further, let’s see how chapter 7 begins and ends:
 But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.