The Israelite army, with Joshua in command, have stacked up quite an impressive set of victories. Their fame is spreading throughout the land and people begin to tremble in fear. At this point it would be easy to become proud and full of self-confidence. It is also in these times that people begin to trust more and more in their own path and strength and forget what God has been doing for them.

Joshua 7:1 mentions one Israelite man named Achan. Listen to what the text says about Achan.

“But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.”

It sounds like one man is to blame, but really it is an indictment on the whole people of Israel. How quickly we have come to this point that they have turned away. The walls of Jericho fall and God gives them the city and the next chapter comes along and they have “broke faith.” Achan ends up taking some plunder from one of the battles that God had prohibited. Joshua, feeling very confident, then sends a small army up against Ai because they don’t have very many people and the battle should be easy. Feeling relaxed Joshua decides to let the A Team sit for the night while he calls up the smaller B Team to go to battle. Because of Achan’s sin and the over confidence of the people, the army was easily defeated and sent away with their tails firmly between their legs.

At this point Joshua is ready to give up and go back to the desert. The people had quickly drifted from God and become overconfident thinking that they could do as they please. Achan and Joshua learned the hard way that living on your own without God never works out very well in the end. Through some tough lessons Joshua led the people to recalibrate and renew the covenant with God once again. Once on track they had what they needed to face Ai a second time and they won in glorious fashion.

When people get comfortable that’s when it is easy to trust in your own strength. When everything is going well, things are getting done and the sunshine seems like it solely beaming on you, it is easy to forget what brought you to this point. I can see a lot of people who are at this point, I would even say that our country is at this point. Far too long we have trusted in our own strength for the battles that we face and maybe it has even worked to some extent over time, but…and it is a big but, “Pride comes before the fall!” It came to the Israelite people and it will come to any fool that trusts and believes that they have what it takes on their own to face this life.

I could go on and on about how pride has overtaken the world and point out the many ways that it is evident, but you all see it everyday and so it’s not the biggest question at hand. The Big Question remains…how do you respond to defeat? When it all comes crashing down upon you, how do you deal with it? We are a resilient people who bounce back from a whole bunch of stuff, but do we ever learn?

“…And the hearts of the people melted and became like water. Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads.”  Joshua 7:5b-6

Joshua and the elders had learned a lesson, but I fear that more and more in our world today that when confronted with pride and evil, people only respond in anger as they defend their actions instead of confessing their sin.

So hear this…We are an adulterous, wicked generation that preys on the weak and rejoices in evil. It is time for us to return to God. Fall on our faces before a Holy God, confess our sin and find forgiveness in the cross of Christ. Our salvation is from the Lord and not of ourselves.

So now that you have heard the call to return, how will you respond? Will your heart be hardened in sin or softened by the message of forgiveness? It is time to return to the Lord, trust in him alone and let everything else be secondary to that.

How can you identify in your own life when when it’s time to renew your relationship with God? What does that look like? Is it right to point that out in other Christians lives as you see it happening?

Look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day!