Today’s Reading: Joshua 7:16-9:2 (additional reading Psalm 82:1-8 and Proverbs 13:2-3)
Key Verse: But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. Joshua 7:1
“Nobody likes problems, but while problems and struggles can make us more dependent on God, on the other hand, success can be dangerous. Success often breeds carelessness. When everything is going smoothly we have the false idea that we can handle everything by our own strength and we weaken our trust in God. Someone described the danger of success with these words: ‘For every thousand who can handle adversity, only one can handle success’. Today’s text from Joshua 7 illustrates this truth.
God had helped them defeat the kings of Sihon and Og, established a new leader, cross the Jordan River on dry ground, and defeat the powerful city of Jericho. One victory after another had boosted their confidence to dangerous levels. Here is the first lesson we need to learn – We’re extremely vulnerable to temptation in moments of apparent success.
Ai should have been a walkover compared to Jericho. But when they got there, they faced defeat. In this case the reason for the defeat with sin in Israel. The disobedience of one individual can have a negative effect on the whole community. Achan’s sin killed 36 men. There are corporate consequences of our sins; even those that are hidden from the eyes of men.
Here we have a picture of the church. Notice what actually had happened? One man had stole property which belonged to God. One individual in the camp had betrayed God’s trust, but the verdict from heaven was not, ‘Achan has sinned,’ but ‘Israel has sinned.’ One man had failed, and the whole army was defeated. The children of Israel were a nation—they were brought in as one body, the weakest of them and the strongest of them. They were a complete entity; God was dealing with them as a corporate body through whom His purposes for men were to be fulfilled.
The church is still one body. We maybe believe that we are hiding our sin well, but our sin can have a massive effect on the people around us, our families, friends and church. We need to repent of hidden sins and realise that our disobedience is not just affecting us but the whole body.
- Do you recognise your part in the body (the church)?
- How does it make you feel to know that you affect the body as a whole? How can you be a positive influence?
- Has success caused you to trust God less?
Father, Thank You for making us part of the Church. Help us to love and support our brothers and sisters in Christ and to build each other up. Help us to be reliant on You through all time, good and hard. Thank You that You are always with us. In Jesus’ name, Amen