Anger over sin

145

READ: Joshua 7:1-12

So the LORD said to Joshua: ‘Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant, which I commanded them’ (Josh. 7:10, 11a).

God is with Joshua (6:27), and Joshua wants to continue immediately into Canaan after the destruction of Jericho. But then, unexpectedly, there is a defeat against the strategically located small city of Ai. Joshua sent only a portion of his army there based on reconnaissance. But to their great dismay, 36 men are unexpectedly killed by the men of Ai. Probably many more, as they were pursued and defeated, to the great shock of the people (v.5). Joshua is confused and troubled by this report.

He and the elders tear their clothes and prostrate themselves before the ark. Now, Joshua makes a sinful mistake. He accuses the LORD of being the cause of the massacre. There is even a hint of what the ten spies had said a long time ago: they wish they had stayed on the other side of the Jordan. He is concerned about the LORD’s reputation but accuses God of unfaithfulness.

The LORD responds with displeasure, saying, “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face?” Joshua has drawn the wrong conclusion: it is not God’s fault. He is unchangingly faithful and just. It is Israel’s fault.

Joshua can lament all he wants, but it won’t help. The sin must be atoned for. Only then can God’s favour return. God makes this clear immediately. Israel has violated His covenant. It is God’s wrath against a deliberate sin of the whole of Israel: they stole from the Lord, disobeying the ban, and lied.

Allowing sin in a church member is complicity: leaven spreads through the whole lump (1 Cor. 5:6). God’s wrath then comes over the entire congregation (1 Cor. 11:17-34). Discipline is needed, or God will withdraw from His people, and they will have to flee. Therefore, Joshua is instructed to take away the accursed thing from among them (v.13).

Daily Devotional – Bouwen en Bewaren (bouwen-en-bewaren.nl) 24-12-2023