Fresh off the heels of their tremendous victory over Jericho, Joshua sends a small group of soldiers to defeat a smaller city of Ai in today’s Bible reading*. They thought this would be a quick battle, but that’s not what happened. Why? Because “the people” had been unfaithful. (Joshua 7:1)
Actually, it was only one man, Achan who was unfaithful; instead of destroying the booty of Jericho, Achan held back some of the loot and hid it in his tent. He thought he had successfully covered his sin.
But God knew. God always knows.
So why would God be angry at the entire community of faith instead of Achan? Remember back a few ago when we saw a repeated phrase, “purge the evil from your midst”? That phrase occurred nine times in the book of Deuteronomy, three of which were in Deuteronomy 22. God reminded the people that He wouldn’t tolerate evil in His people. And when Achan sinned, “the people” sinned. And they needed to purge the evil from their midst.
Achan was stoned for his evil intentions and actions.
Did you notice what happened after the people executed Achan? They went back to Ai and finished the job. They triumphed over the city.
And then Joshua brought the people back to the basics. He built an altar and wrote the law of Moses on it. He read the words of the law — the blessings and the curses — for the people to hear. Again. (Joshua 8:34-35)
You may become tired of my constant reminders to read God’s Word. Study God’s Word. Memorize God’s Word. Why do I do this?
Because we often forget. We need to be reminded of the basics. Again. And Again.
We need to get back to the basics.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading: