As we read Joshua 7:1-12, like any other passage in the Bible, our prayerful attitude should be, “Lord, what is there in this for me?” Of the many things that I am sure you can find, this is what jumped out at me.
“The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?” (Joshua 7:10) At first, that sounds weird. Does Psalm 50:15 not say, “and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Surely, Israel was in trouble. Its leader Joshua understood the seriousness of the trouble they were in. So was he not doing the right thing by falling on His face before God and pleading for mercy, and causing the Elders to do likewise? Well, God did not feel that the time he was spending on his face before the ark with his clothes torn and with ashes on his head was worth it, and God told him why. Israel has sinned. So clearly, God was right and Joshua was wrong. Let us try to figure out where Joshua went wrong.
For the answer we must travel back to Joshua 6:18. Let us take a listen to what Joshua told the Israelites. “But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it.”
Did Joshua really believe what he was telling the Israelites about the penalty for disobeying God? And if he did, why then did he not immediately suspect that a person or persons among the Israelites had disobeyed the instructions of God after a handful of soldiers from Ai shamefully defeated his army? Instead he impugned the righteousness, justice and integrity of God. In other words Joshua blamed God for allowing or causing their defeat without a single thought to the possibility that one of his people had disobeyed God.
Whenever we feel that the hand of God is against us, it is always a good and safe practice to examine ourselves for sin and disobedience to God. We may not always find wrong-doing. And if we don’t, then we should immediately rejoice, because God obviously has a plan in our suffering (James 1:2). If we do find wrong doing, then we must immediately deal with it; confess it, and receive God’s forgiveness. (1 John 1:9) But never, never ever accuse God! Be like Job as recorded in Job 1:22, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”\
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