I read through Joshua 7 this past week where Joshua is wrestling with God over their recent defeat at Ai. God, you've promised us victory, what has happened? Distraught he asks, "What will You do for Your great name?"
The Lord speaks courage to Joshua and asks him to rise. He reveals to Joshua that Israel has sinned. All of Israel? Someone has stolen, and deceived. Joshua had given explicit orders to take nothing after hte battle of Jericho. God had made a covenant with His people before they had crossed into Jordan, the land promised to them. The Lord had promised victory, all of the land, His protection and His presence, but they must obey His commands fully. Sin would be the one thing that would get in the way.
It probably was unbelief, doubt in God's holiness, or His ability to see and know all things. Achan probably reasoned it away in his mind as he took some of the spoil from Jericho for himself and his family. One man's sin affected all the people. What implications does this story have on us today?
God then asks Joshua to lead the people in a public reconsecration to the Lord. "You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst."
Calling Achan and his clan out, they are punished according to God's standards. Their death and destruction make me shudder. It is evidence of how God feels about all that is not holy.
After their cleansing and reconsecration, the Lord gives them a new start and complete victory. A second chance at Ai. That was His heart all along.
He speaks them clearly all through Scripture. The words that say, "Child, I long to give you victory. I want you to walk in victory every moment of every day. But I need you to trust Me. Trusting Me means obeying Me. With your whole heart. Give it all to Me. Walk with Me. In those hard decisions when the world's wisdom would call you foolish, would you trust Me?"
I need to make sure to put sin far away from me. Daily. Moment by moment. To grow in a practice of daily repentance. Victory is mine. Victory is yours. I must learn to appropriate this victory daily.