Read Joshua 7
Sin of Achan; Israelites flee at Ai; Law recorded at Mount Ebal.
And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few (Josh. 7:3).
Following the victory over Jericho, Joshua prepared to move into the hill country of central Palestine. He sent spies to Ai to determine what strategy they should use in attacking the city. They returned with full confidence of victory saying Let not all the people go up . . . and smite Ai . . . for they are but few. A favorable report from his spies gave him even more confidence of victory than when they marched around Jericho. The Lord had not directed Joshua to send spies to Ai, nor did Joshua seek or receive instructions from the Lord to fight Ai (7:2).
It seemed unnecessary to Joshua and his spies for the whole army to attack the small village of Ai. This act of self-confidence was based on the supposition that they had conquered Jericho through their own strength. Actually, it was God who had destroyed the city walls.
The spies had accomplished their mission without the Lord's guidance, and the soldiers went in to the battle without His assistance; consequently, thirty-six Israelites were killed and they fled. The most alarming aspect of this event was that Joshua was unaware that the Lord was not with him.
God withdrew His presence, protection and power from Israel when Achan took a garment, silver, and gold from Jericho. But the reason for the defeat goes much deeper than Achan's sin. God exposed the fact that Israel (not just Achan) was guilty of trespass (7:1).
Eight times in the first six chapters of Joshua, the Bible records how the Lord directed Joshua (1:1; 3:7; 4:8; 4:10; 4:15; 5:2; 5:15; 6:2). Then in Joshua 7:2-3, Joshua and his committee, (not the Lord) unanimously decided what action was to be taken, which resulted in failure. Often we make the same mistake as Joshua in that we sometimes take matters into our own hands rather than wait upon the Lord for His direction in our lives. Apart from the mercy and grace of God, the smallest temptation will be too powerful for the greatest Christian. We dare not trust in our own strength! Shew me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths (Ps. 25:4).
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing (John. 15:5).
Thought for Today:
When communication and fellowship between God and Israel was ignored, their good intentions and well-laid plans resulted in failure!
Through the uncut stones at the altar (Josh. 8:31). Daniel saw Christ as a Stone which was not cut by human hands (Dan. 2:34,45). Jesus is our Chief Corner Stone (I Pet. 2:6; Matt. 21:42).
7:1 the anger of the Lord was kindled against, the Lord was furious with (7:26); 7:6 rent, tore; put dust upon their heads, expressed intense sorrow by defiling their heads; 7:9 environ us round, surround us; 7:11 dissembled, deceived; 7:13 sanctify, consecrate, cleanse, make undefiled; against, before; 7:18 taken, chosen; 7:26 Achor, Trouble; 8:11 pitched, camped; 8:13 liers in wait, concealed ambushers.
Pray for International Radio Broadcasts in memory of Iva Ann McElroy (Dr. John Hash's mother) • Staff: Karen Hawkins • Government Officials: Senate President (Acting Gov.) Earl Ray Tomblin (WV), Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA), and Assoc. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg • Country: Turkmenistan (4.8 million) southwestern central Asia • Major languages: Turkmen and Russian • Religious freedom • 89% Muslim (largely Sunni); 9% Eastern Orthodox; 2% Unknown/Other (Catholic, Protestant, Baha'i, Jehovah's Witness, Hare Krishna) • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to write His precepts in your heart (Col. 3:16).
Optional Reading: John 6
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 2:14