So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.
— Joshua 7:4-5
After this defeat, Joshua and the elders of Israel sought the Lord and He answered them, “Israel has sinned…for they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived” (Josh. 7:11). A young man named Achan had disobeyed Joshua’s warning to abstain from the accursed things of Jericho (6:18) and had picked up a beautiful Babylonian garment from the spoils of that city. Babylon is associated with religion and idol worship. Achan also picked up some silver, typifying Christ’s redemption, and gold, which typifies God’s nature. He picked up something of God and something of the world. When the Israelites realized this, they stoned Achan and burned all his things.
Be very careful. Don’t bring the world into the church life. If you do, the world will eventually conquer you. It starts out with something seemingly small, but eventually it opens the door for the world to invade.
After Israel dealt with the sin among them, the Lord told Joshua to set an ambush behind Ai (Josh. 8:1–2). Israel went out against Ai a second time and won the victory.
Adapted from Joshua: A Life of Service, pages 51-52.
Tomorrow: “Gibeon—The Deceptiveness of Man”