Achan has the place in the Old Testament that Ananias and Sapphira have in the New. Hypocrisy, selfish ambition, the love of adulation and praise are deadly cancers within the midst of God’s people. These two examples are ever before the Church to make us sober-minded and not take the Lord for granted.
You can imagine the grins and back-slapping amongst the warriors as we read the first paragraphs in today’s passage.
Look at Joshua’s leadership here, newly minted after a complete and utter victory in the destruction of Jericho.
The spies come back with advice based (it seems) on the few number of people in and around the city of Ai (so they were thinking in terms of human numbers).
There is no record of Joshua seeking the Lord’s wisdom here before sending only a handful (relatively) of warriors to attack.
Notice the parallel from earlier in the book, that on their warriors being thrashed, the hearts of Israel melt. Not so long back it was the hearts of the people in the promised land who had melted before Israel.
We do read of Joshua’s response to the defeat – He turns to the Lord and calls on His promises.
This is important, because it’s not wrong (although depending how we have been brought up, it can seem a little pushy) to call on God to keep and uphold His promises. Afterall He is the only one who can do these things, the only one who can keep promises like those that He gave Israel!
But within Joshua’s response we see a straying from active daily trust in God’s sovereignty and His word.
Because God had clearly said that everything from Jericho must be destroyed.
How often do we approach a situation by jumping to conclusions without examining and thinking through the different aspects!
This passage holds a good reminder for us to remember the Lord and His commands at all times, to be careful of the temptation to mope and fall into self-pity as we wrestle with asking God to fulfil His promises.
* Father God,
You are the holy God, set apart, there is none like You.
Please help us to treat You with all the importance and seriousness that You deserve – Our everything, nothing held back, that we do not try to hide anything from You.
Lord teach us Your ways, write them on our hearts that we might not sin against You.