The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face?11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings.12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. (Joshua 7:10-12 ESV)
After God brought the walls of Jericho down in such dramatic fashion, the people confidently went to battle agains the next city of Ai. But to their surprise, the weaker Ai turned them on their tails and the fled, losing 36 of their fighting men in battle. It was a shock. Joshua and the elders fell on their faces before God and pleaded with God to help them and this passage is God’s response. God explains that they were defeated because someone in the camp took some of the items of Jericho that were devoted to destruction. There is a whole lot that could be said about what it means to be devoted to destruction that I don’t want to get into here. What I do notice is the fact that all of Israel suffered even though it was but one man that stole the forbidden items. Only one man sinned and the whole nation is punished! It goes to show the connection that people had with each other. This was a community, a single body, and would be punished as such. We tend to think individualistically and think that the sinner’s sin would affect no one but himself. Not so in the eyes of God. This man’s guilt rested on everyone.
Think about the implication of this for our lives today. This means that when one person in our fellowship is hurting, we are all hurting. We can’t just get up and walk away to a place we can avoid hurting people. We are connected together and as such, we hurt together, laugh together, suffer together. This is how God has decreed it so let’s embrace it.
Do you distance yourself from people when difficulties arise, or do you step up?
Chronological Reading Plan plus Psalms: Josh 1:5-8, Ps 83