Joshua 7:10-12 – The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 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. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.”
After the victory at Jericho, the people of Israel came upon a much smaller town. They sent a small contingent of men to take the little city of Ai, believing this to be a simple task. But, one of the people of Israel had stolen from God during the conquest of Jericho. This man had taken things that God commanded that Israel destroy. He took them out of greed, and disobeyed the Lord. So, when Israel attacked Ai, though they should have easily taken the city, they were driven back from the city in defeat.
Disobedience is deadly. It saps from us the ability to do the will of God in the future. Its effects can reach much farther than we imagine. Of course, the man who stole the gold and silver from Jericho did not think that his little act of disobedience would lead to the deaths of several soldiers at the following city, but it most certainly did. His supposedly secret sin cost him, and others, a great deal.
In my own life, I can think of places where my disobedience has cost me for long periods of time. Failure to obey God in one area of life brought down my spiritual life in many other ways. It hurt, and it most certainly impacted others around me. It was destructive, and most certainly was much bigger than I would have ever imagined.
We thank God that he is gracious. He does not deal with us as our sin deserves. God does not have the people take us out and put us to death for our disobedience as he did in Joshua 7, and that is simply his mercy at work. He is gracious to us, and he will forgive our sinful disobedience when we, in Christ, confess it to him and repent of it. He restores us to fellowship with himself, because he is gracious and he loves us.
Is there an area of life where God is calling you to follow him? Is there an area in your life where you are presently living in disobedience? Do not hesitate, today, to seek God’s mercy. Come to him, in Christ, and seek his forgiveness. Turn away from your disobedience, and avoid the self-destructive consequences of that sin. Seek God’s mercy, and he promises you will have it.
Lord, I recognize in this account the great cost of disobedience. While we often feel that obeying you will cost us something, disobeying you will cost us more. It is dangerous and destructive to fail to follow you. I renounce any of my past disobedience to you. I desire to obey you fully today. Please forgive me for my past sin, and lead me to full obedience to you that will honor you. Thank you that you have been so gracious to me. Even in my disobedience, you did not punish my sins as I deserved. I pray that I will now live a life of obedience and devotion to you for the glory of your name.