'Appreciating God's Love'
Defeat of Israelites at Ai
Jos 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.
After defeating Jericho where God tore down the high walls and killed its mighty warriors, Joshua moved on to fight Ai, which had a smaller population. With great confidence that God would fight for them, the Israelites sent only three thousand men.
But they were defeated and they turned tail with 36 of their men killed. God was angry with Israel for Achan had stolen the accursed things during their conquest of Jericho.
Jos 7:5 And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water...
Israel is no longer Invincible
Jos 7:8-9 "O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?"
The defeat of Israel brought doubts and fear to the Israelites.
1. Doubt that the Canaanites would no longer fear their invincibility for even the smaller Ai could defeat them.
2. Fear that the powerful Canaanites would soon gather together and annihilate them.
Note: These Israelites were bold, fearless and full of faith, but their first defeat destroyed their faith.
Sin of Covetousness
Jos 7:11-12 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.
God is always faithful to His word. When Israel rebelled against His words, God would have to fight against them until they have repented of their sins.
Jos 7:25-26 And Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day." So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.
Note: When God was fighting alongside Israel, He would not allow any sin to inhibit His presence and works. Similarly, during the great revival in the book of Acts, God had to remove sinning Christians from His presence.
Act 5:9-11 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.
God Presence Once Again
Jos 8:1-2 Now the Lord said to Joshua: "Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its cattle you shall take as booty for yourselves. Lay an ambush for the city behind it."
Immediately after Israel had repented and accounted for their sin, God forgave their iniquities. God once again was fighting alongside Israel to help them conquer the land of Canaan as He had promised.
2 Chr 7:14 "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Repentance for Restoration
Jam 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
God expects us to confess our sins so that He can forgive us. However, if you cannot overcome those habitual sin, then you must confess your sin to a brethren who can help you by keeping an eye on you.