The Israelites had taken Jericho, and now they thought that, after that first incredible victory, God would continue to lead them forward. The way in which the walls fell was astounding. It was amazing to see such strength and power come to nothing before God’s power, and so the Israelites felt that nothing could go wrong.

As a result, as they looked forward to the city of Ai, they thought that they could just send a small fraction of their army to defeat that city. They may have been correct, except they had sinned as they had defeated Jericho. Amongst them was one who had kept some of the “devoted things”, those things from the plunder of Jericho that should have remained devoted to God. Achan had seen his opportunity to enrich himself instead of remain faithful to God’s plan and his instruction. He had taken a Babylonian robe, a bar of gold, and several pieces of silver and buried them under his tent.

So as the small detachment from the army of Israel went to fight Ai, God was not with them. Yahweh did not faithfully lead this army because the Israelites had not been faithful to him. The Israelites had violated the covenant that God had made with them, so God would not go with them. He wouldn’t honor the covenant when the Israelites had not honored it either.

But as Achan was identified and the cancer of sin which prevented the Israelites from completely following God was removed, God rejoined the Israelites and they routed the city of Ai.

Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

Joshua 7:20-21

We frequently have actions and attitudes that stand in our way of our relationship with God. We make our plans. We make our ideas. We look to enrich and glorify ourselves instead of placing the glory where it belongs, upon God, and we create the same types of problems and issues come upon ourselves.

Yesterday, I met with a man and we discussed together the parable of Jesus that says that the kingdom of God is like a treasure in a field. When the man found it, he went joyfully to sell everything that he owned so that he could buy the treasure in the field.

There is value in the other things in life, but look at the value that they have when compared to the value of the treasure of the kingdom of God. It is worth more than anything else. The man sold everything so that he could have the field that contained the treasure. And he did it joyfully! He was happy to sell everything.

In Achan’s, he thought that having the devoted things, those things that should have been devoted to God, would enrich him, and he preferred, instead of honoring God and giving all to him, to honor himself and give himself everything. He found greater joy in keeping everything for himself instead of giving it to God, and as a result, he was destroyed and the people of Israel was defeated. In the same way, if we desire to see success, we must offer and give all that we have to God so that he will be honored and glorified and we will find our joy in him.

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