During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled The Cross-over Miracle (8). Her text was taken from the Book of Joshua chapters 7 and 8. The battle at Jericho is the first victory of Israel in the Promised Land. The battle at Ai is their first and only defeat under the leadership of Joshua in the Promised Land. After the mighty victory against Jericho, the people of God are defeated by the much smaller city of Ai. It was a painful and disgraceful retreat. Achan means Trouble. Ai means Ruins. There are many lessons for us.
THE PROMISE AND THE COVENANT
The people of Israel are now in the Promised Land. God gave them the title deed over the land. But they must conquer the nations there and take over the land. There are many lessons for us as we follow the journey of Israel in the Promised Land. God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to bless him, to multiply him, to change his name, to give him and his descendants the land of Canaan and to be their God. “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Gen 17:1-8).
God repeated His Promise to Joshua just before the crossing over. “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh 1:2-9).
Lesson: God is a God of covenant! He is faithful to His promises! We now belong to Christ, where the blessings of Abraham are ours by faith! When we pray, we identify with Abraham and remind God of His Promises to us. God will answer all prayers that are according to His Word!
The people of God have crossed over the Promised Land. The first three enemies they needed to conquer were Jericho, Ai and the Gibeonites. Spiritually speaking, Jericho stands for the world, Ai stands for the flesh and the Gibeonites stand for the devil. To defeat each one, we need God but there are different strategies. The strategy God used to defeat Jericho will not work against Ai or against the Gibeonites!!! Please note that the Land God promised to give them is about 300,000 square miles. But even at its best, Israel only occupied 30,000 square miles.
According to Genesis 15:18 and Joshua 1:4, the land God gave to Israel included everything from the Nile River in Egypt to Lebanon (south to north) and everything from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (west to east). On today’s map, the land God has stated belongs to Israel includes everything modern-day Israel possesses, plus all of the territory occupied by the Palestinians (the West Bank and Gaza), plus some of Egypt and Syria, plus all of Jordan, plus some of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Thus, Israel currently possesses only a fraction of the land God has promised; the rest of their inheritance likely awaits the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Lesson: God gives us more than 8,000 promises in the Bible. But most Christians enjoy very few. We need to study and apply God’s Word!
THE DANGER OF PRIDE – THE ENEMY WITHIN
Chapter 6 ends with these words: “So, the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country” (Joshua 6:27). As we can see, victory, success, and fame are dangerous seasons if we do not stay close to God! The greatest enemy is always inside. The external enemy can only succeed if there is a weakness inside. The devil cannot defeat a believer except there is sin in his flesh. There is this famous ancient story of the defeat of the city of Troy. The Greeks tried to defeat the city of Troy for ten long years. But they failed. Then one day, they retreated. They left behind a big horse made of wood. The Trojans loved and worshipped horses. They celebrated their victory and carried the ‘gift’ inside their city. They did not know that there were Greek soldiers inside the horse. That night as the people of Troy were drunk celebrating their victory, the Greek soldiers came out from the horse and killed them all.
Lesson: The devil does more damage from inside than from the visible enemies outside. Pride has destroyed many leaders and churches.
God’s people have just won a mighty victory against the strong city Jericho. It was God’s strategy and power that brought down its walls. But soon, the people became proud assuming the victory was because of their strength. Achan, from the tribe of Judah, one of the men who entered Jericho, found an expensive Babylonian robe, gold, and silver, and took it. He ‘trespassed’ against God’s command that no man should take anything from the cursed city. Though only one man sinned, God attributed the sin to the whole nation. “But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel” (Josh 7:1). The word ‘trespass’ is powerful. It means to break God’s Law. It means to enter into another man’s property without permission or right. Trespass can be done ignorantly or knowingly. In the Old Testament, even if a man trespasses God’s Law ignorantly, he was still guilty. When he is aware of it, he should bring a trespassing offering to the priest who will pray for him (Lev 5). But if a man trespasses knowingly, or sins defiantly, there is no mercy for him. That man must die (Nu 15:30-36). God counts Achan’s sin as a sin in the camp. God is angry with the whole nation. But Joshua is not aware of the danger.
Jericho was counted as a first fruits offering unto God. Every man and woman in Jericho, old or young, was to be killed and their property, was to be destroyed. The silver and gold, and all expensive things were to be deposited in God’s treasury. They burned the whole city. It was an offering to God. There was a curse upon any man who stole something from that cursed city. This is Joshua’s specific command to his people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord” (Josh 6:16-19). The destruction of Jericho is a picture of God’s terrible wrath against sin. God is a God of justice. The people in Jericho refused to surrender to Joshua. They resisted him in their pride. They all perished. But Rahab, because she repented from the idols of Jericho and put her faith in the God of Israel, she lived with her family. Because of her faith, Rahab was like a stick plucked from the fire of judgment (Amos 4:11).
Lesson: Salvation is by Grace and by faith! If we have faith in God, He can save us from impossible situations. Selah!
God’s people did not gain any material things from the fall of Jericho. They only gained spiritually. God received all the glory! They pleased God by obeying Him. Their faith in God and in their leader Joshua increased. No one died in this battle. Their numbers increased. They ‘gained’ new citizens who had faith in their God. Rahab and her family became part of Israel. This is a total victory to the glory of God!
Lesson: In Christ, we are ‘more than conquerors’. The Love of God thru Jesus Christ manifests as power and victory thru spiritual warfare. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:37-39). Love is the greatest warrior! “Love never fails” (1 Cor 13:8).
ACHAN’S SIN – “I SAW, I COVETED, I TOOK, I HID THEM”
God’s people attack the next city after Jericho. It was called Ai. The meaning of ‘Ai’ is ‘ruins’. This was a much smaller city than Jericho. It did not have mighty walls like its neighbor. The Ark of God is in the camp at Gilgal. The Word of God does not lead the battle against Ai. Human wisdom and strength have taken over. Joshua sends some spies to examine Ai. They come back saying that Ai is a small city and there is no need for all their soldiers to go to battle. Joshua believes them. He sends 3000 soldiers to attack the city. The men or Ai attack back. There was not real fight at Ai. The people of Ai pursued the Israelites who started running from them. It seems that as they were running, some fell, and the people of Ai killed them. It was a disgraceful way to die for a solider. It was a national tragedy. When God’s people heard about the defeat, they all became discouraged and started weeping. “The hearts of the people melted and became like water” (Josh 7:5). Joshua is broken hearted. He tore his clothes as a sign of deep grief. He goes before the Ark of God in worship. All the elders do the same. They do not understand why God has abandoned them. Their sorrow is genuine. It is a godly sorrow that beings repentance and salvation. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2 Cor 7:10,11).
Lesson: One with God is majority! It’s not the number of soldiers that determine the victory. 3000 soldiers without God could not win. But three soldiers with God can win any battle. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt18:20). Genuine godly sorrow for sin and deep repentance is necessary to restore your relationship with God!
The people have pledged themselves to submit and obey to Joshua. They said that rebellion shall be punished with death. “So, they answered Joshua, saying, “All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the Lord your God be with you, as He was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage” (Josh 1:16-18). Achan rebelled against Joshua’s command. That is why there was not mercy for him! Rebellion is like witchcraft (1 Sam15:23) and a which is supposed to die (Ex22:18).
Once Achan stole from the first fruits that belong to God, He withdrew His presence. Without God’s presence, they become losers. This is the explanation of their defeat at Ai. Joshua was not aware of God’s anger. He assumed that all is well. He did not pray seeking God’s face before he attacked Ai. He assumed that God would bless his ministry as a leader. It was the shameful and painful defeat that brought Joshua to his knees to seek God’s face again. Joshua humbled himself and sought God in his pain. This is again the ideal behavior of a spiritual leader. Joshua knew that without God, they cannot proceed. They will only fail.
Lesson: May we use our pains well! May we humble ourselves and learn from our mistakes!
Joshua does the right thing. In defeat, in sorrow, he goes to God. He needs God. He knows that without God they cannot move on. He remembers what his mentor, Moses, told God in the past: “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name” (Ex 33:15-17). If Moses cannot go on without God, Joshua too cannot move without God.
Lesson: Jesus said: “Without me you can do nothing!” (Jn 15:5). Outside Christ, man has zero power to accomplish anything in life. Selah!
See what Joshua does in the time of grief. He does not encourage the people. He does not get angry with the soldiers. First of all, he goes to God, in godly sorrow. He tears his clothes as a sign of grief and lies down before the Ark of God. The leaders take his example and do the same.
Lesson: Imagine this picture of leaders lying down before God. This is true spiritual leadership when there is a crisis in a family or in a church.
Joshua’s prayer is filled with pain. He cares for God’s name. He wants to know the reason for the defeat. God’s answer is strange. It sounds like a rebuke for praying. God’s rebuke is to bring Joshua to his senses. He is the leader of Israel, and he is ignorant of the reality of sin in the camp.
Forty years previously, God rebuked Moses for crying when he was supposed to act in faith. God said: “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (Ex 14:15, 16). God tells Joshua to stop crying and praying. God commanded that none should take anything from Jericho. Someone broke God’s Law and brought tragedy upon all. God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. He is to stand and act. He is to find the sinner and punish him. The Commander of the heavenly armies is speaking. As a man under authority, even though in deep pain, Joshua obeys immediately. This is a sign of faithfulness to His Commander. Joshua ‘gets up’ and gets ready to find the secret sinner.
Lesson: there is a time to pray and then there is a time to act! When God is with us, Jericho is not too strong to be captured; when God is grieved by our sin, Ai is not too weak to defeat us. If we pray and we still can’t experience victory, it means that there is a stolen Babylonian garment hidden under the floor of our lives or church.
Joshua now represents God as the Judge of all men. This is his judgment: “Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel” (Josh 7:15). Joshua brings all people before God to find the one who sinned against God. Tribe by tribe, clan by clan, family by family, and man by man. At last, a man is identified as the thief, Achan, the son of Carmi, from the tribe of Judah. All the time this exercise was going on, Achan did not take responsibility for his sin. He thought that he can still escape, and another will be picked to die. His silence is criminal.
Lesson: it is easy to be blinded by sin committed by people close to us. We tend to reject the revelation of sin inside our family or church! It is not easy to find the internal enemy. The city of Ai stands for the flesh! The flesh is weak and cowardly. To find the sin hiding in the flesh takes time, faith, and patience. The deeds of the flesh must be mortified by the power of the Holy Spirit! There are many Christians who conquer Jericho, the visible world around them, but they are defeated by the weakness or their flesh and the sin within.
The meaning of the name Achan is ‘Trouble’. His father’s name Carmi means ‘A Vineyard’. He is from the tribe of Judah, meaning ‘Praise’. In the natural, Jesus came from the tribe of Judah. Achan comes from good parents. But he was a troublemaker. He is like Cain, Esau, or Judas Iscariot.
When finally, he was chosen, Joshua was gentle and broken hearted with him, calling him ‘my son’. Achan did not deny his sin. He confessed his sin publicly. This is a true detailed confession. “Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.” (Josh 7:20, 21). See the verbs Achan used: ‘I saw… I coveted… I took… I hid them’. People ran to his tent and discovered the expensive robe, the silver, and the gold, buried in the ground. The judgment was swift and without mercy. The people carried Achan and his family, and all his possessions, to the valley of Achor (meaning Trouble). They were all stoned to death. Then they were burnt with fire. These two manners of death represent the judgment of men and of God. Then they raised on top of their ashes a great heap of stone as a reminder of God’s wrath against rebellion. After this, God’s fierce anger stopped.
Lesson: sin deserves death. God hates sin. God punishes sin. None can hide his sin from God! “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Nu 32:23). God the Father sent His Son to die on the Cross for our sins. God’s wrath against us was removed by the Blood of Jesus shed on the Cross. By His death, Jesus reconciled us to God. Halleluiah!
YOU SHALL NOT STEAL
One of the Ten Commandments says this: “You shall not steal” (Ex 20:15). Achan was a thief. The punishment for stealing is to restore more than it was stolen. If the thief is caught stealing, and the owner of the house kills him, that is not considered murder. Generally, the thief has to restore double the amount he stole. “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep. If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed… If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it is an ox or donkey or sheep, he shall restore double” (Ex 22:1, 2, 4). This is when the thief steals from another man. But what will the thief do when he steals from God?
Lesson: Refusing to pay your tithe is the same as stealing from God. Like with Achan, the curse may affect your family or your nation. This is what the Commander of the Lord’s heavenly armies says: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation” (Mal 3:8,9). Selah!
YOU SHALL NOT COVET
The last of the Ten Commandments is against the sin of covetousness. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exo 20:17). Covetousness is defined as the eager and excessive desire to accumulate wealth, or to have another’s possessions. This sin is related to the love of money, to greed and to envy. Covetousness is an internal secret sin. Basically, Achan’s sin was the sin of covetousness and stealing from God. His sin was not the result of ignorance. He knew the command of God. It was a willing sin. It was a sin against God. He stole not from man, but from God. God is merciful but God is also holy. When Achan entered Jericho and saw the expensive robe, the gold, and the silver, he could not resist it. He took it. Therefore, it was a sin of opportunity. He was not prepared in advance to obey God. He was not humble enough to remain faithful during a time of success. The robe was so beautiful that he could not resist taking it. He buried the things under the ground of his tent. What foolishness! He has a treasure that he could not use. How can he dress with that royal robe? That’s madness! The lust of the eyes is a terrible thing! By stealing from the things of Jericho, Achan identified with the citizens of Jericho who were doomed to die. And he had to die!
Lesson: God’s ways are not our ways. From inside the fire, God saved Rahab and her family. From outside Jericho, God sent Achan and his family into the fire. Sin is such a terrible thing!
Why did God render the judgment of death? We are all born sinners. We are all condemned to die. “The wages of sin is death’ (Rom 6:23). It is a miracle that some can be saved and go to heaven! The Son of God became a Man and died on our behalf. God could not save His own Son because Christ became sin for us. That is why Jesus died. He paid the penalty for us. Those who believe in Christ Crucified, are saved. Salvation is by grace alone, by faith alone, thru Christ alone, by God’s Word alone, and for the glory of God alone. Because we are in Christ, there is no more condemnation for us. But Achan belongs to the group of those who reject Christ. He led his family into the sin of unbelief. There is no way Achan could hide the stolen things in his tent without the knowledge of his family. They shared into his sin, his shame and into his death. Achan’s sin is against God. His sin is double: covetousness and stealing from God. Jericho was counted as burnt offering to God. He has the right to the first fruits offering. Achan stole from the first fruits. God became angry! He punished the whole nation for the sin of one. God sees Israel as a unit. If one pleases God, He will bless them all. If one sins against God, He will punish them all. For example, when all His people rebelled against Him, God separated Judah for Himself. He said that for the sake of His servant David, He will not destroy the tribe of Judah. “Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah, for the sake of His servant David, as He promised him to give a lamp to him and his sons forever” (2 Kg 8:19).
Achan’s sin is a transgression against the Covenant of Jehovah who pledged to bless those who obey and curse those who disobey. Jehovah God is a God of covenant. He promises to bless, lead, provide and protect Israel based on the covenant He did with them. God does not bless randomly. He is faithful to His covenant He has made with His people. By his sin, Achan has grieved the God of covenant. God became ‘angry’ with Achan, his family and with all the people. Achan’s sin is similar with the sin of Ananias and Saphira who sinned against God. Peter told Ananias: “Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God” (Ac 5:4). Ananias and Saphira died instantly! Then the church feared God. They became wiser from that time on. The hypocrites withdrew from the church. The timing is also important. God judged and killed Ananias and Saphira when the church was still young. God warned them against sin from the beginning. It is the same with Achan. Israel entered their Promised Land. They just celebrated their first victory at Jericho. God judges Achan now so that His people learn to fear him from the beginning. No man saw Achan carrying his stolen treasure. Hypocrites are crafty, hard to detect. Like Ananias and Saphira, Achan wanted to become a leader thru being wealthy. God’s people stoned Achan to death. In many churches, Ananias is the Pastor, Saphira is the assistant pastor and Achan is the worship leader because he comes from Judah, meaning praise. No wonder that the Holy Spirit refuses to move in some churches! Listen to God: “I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you” (Josh 7:12).
Lesson: God’s judgment on unrepented sinners, though painful to our emotions, is for the glory of God. It purifies the believers. It purifies the church. It also warns the believers against joining with the hypocrites. God’s judgment on sin prepares for revival! Joshua finds Achan. He executes judgment on him. This reveals the issue of corporate wellbeing. Practically, you can forgive a sinner as an individual, but you cannot stop the judgment of the court upon his crime.
Once the judgment is done, God’s presence is restored. Joshua leads the people in the battle against Ai for the second time. This time, he does not take anything for granted. The first time he sent 3,000 soldiers. Now, he leads an army of 30,000 soldiers, mighty men of valor. God tells him the strategy. There shall be an ambush. The people of Ai will be trapped and destroyed. The city shall be burnt. God says that this time they can take all the spoil and the cattle inside for themselves. What a gracious God we serve!
Lesson: Ai stands for the flesh! To mortify sin in the flesh is a great battle. You need all the wisdom, courage and faith given by the Holy Spirit! The reward is great to you!
ACHAN’S SIN AFFECTED HIS FAMILY
Achan stole the silver and the gold that belongs to God. Achan had some hours to meditate upon his action. He could have repented before the men attacked Ai. But he refused to do so. Why did God punish Achan’s family? The Bible says that Greed is a familiar spirit. “He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house” (PV 15:27). The word ‘trouble’ is same as Achan. It means to bring suffering, to make someone fail in life. When Korah rebelled against Moses and Aaron, the earth opened and swallowed his family and his property (Nu 16:31-33). This miracle of God’s judgment was a serious warning to the people of God. In Achan’s case, the only explanation is that the family knew about this sin and covered it. They were accomplices. In the same way, the covetousness of Gehazi caused the infliction of the penalty of leprosy upon himself and his children. Elisha rebuked Gehazi saying: “Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.” And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow” (2 Kings 5:26-27).
Lesson: There is an Achan in each one of us. Sin can stay hidden for a long time. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that it can be revealed and destroyed. The husband or father is to lead his family to God, to know and obey God. The sin of the leader affects the followers! Selah!
LESSONS FROM DEFEAT
The stories in the Old Testament are not history or poetry. They are written for us, the believers in Christ. “Now these things happened to them as an example and warning [to us]; they were written for our instruction [to admonish and equip us], upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 19:11; AMP). There are many lessons for us. Joshua learnt from his defeat at Ai. He did not lose any battle after that!
1-Be warned against the sin of pride! Ai represents the flesh. The times of success and victory are extremely dangerous. Just imagine the scenario: Joshua was a national hero. Joshua became famous in the land. The people were celebrating the victory. They rejoiced at the fall of Jericho. All men want to be rich and famous. They forget the danger of such a position. The devil attacks with pride. It is not easy to identify the temptation with pride. The only solution is to live close to the Cross, to die to sin and to live to God alone. During times of pain, we draw closer to God. During times of success, we tend to depend on ourselves. That is dangerous. We become weak spiritually. We start losing battles. Remember that the success of yesterday is gone. You need God and His grace afresh, every day. The fact that you won in the past, does not guarantee that you will win in the future. Never forget the Word of God. Never forget that God hates pride! Sin always brings shame, pain, and failure. “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” (PV 16:18). Many famous pastors and worship leaders became proud and careless with their spiritual lives. They conquer Jericho but they fell at Ai. They fall because of pride. Some have repented and came back. But very few attained the height from where they fell. When there is true repentance, God forgives sin. But God is under no obligation to restore your testimony. The damage may be for life. The greatest enemy is always inside!
2- Be warned against the temptation of covetousness and stealing! The devil will create opportunities for you to steal things to get rich! Jesus said: “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk 12:15).
3-Do not “share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure” (1 Tim 5:22). Sin is like a virus. It is very contagious. The sin of one affects many others. For example, the sin of Adam and Eve affected all their descendants. Because of Achan’s sin, the Israelites lost the battle with Ai and thirty-six men died, innocent victims who did not share into Achan’s sin. Sin spreads like a gangrene. The foot has to be amputated for the patient to survive the infection. God warns about bringing idols into your home. He will destroy the idol and your home (Deut 7:23-26).
In Christ, there are many members but only one Body. One man’s sin affects the whole body. Paul tells the Corinthians to remove the sinner from their midst (1Cor 5:1-8). The Body of Christ is one. Just like yeast, the sin of one can spread to others. In the same way, one good example influences many to righteousness. “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor 12:26). We should fear God! He hates sin! God is jealous! By the power of the Holy Spirit, we should die to sin!
4-Sin is a terrible thing! Sin always leads to defeat and death. Sin must be confessed to God, to your spiritual authority and to others who have been affected by it. Repent! “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (PV 28:13).
5-You can turn a defeat, into victory, a failure into success, but only with God’s help. The world laughs at your fall. The worldly people cannot help you when you fail. The only way to change the story is to humble yourself, come to God, repent, and wait for His mercy. God will speak to you! Obey His Word, no matter how difficult it is. This is the power of the Gospel. Jesus died and rose again for you. The same power that raised Jesus from the grave is available to you. But you need to be one with Christ. You need to die with Jesus, and to be buried with Him. That power starts from the grave. You need to humble yourself and enter the grave of your sins. Then the supernatural engine of resurrection power will revive your soul and restore your testimony! “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom 8:11). Selah!
4-In Christ, there is always hope. God forgives and restores sinners. There is nothing impossible with God. Achan, whose name is Trouble, died in the Valley of Achor, that also means Trouble. But God promised to have mercy on repentant sinners. Hosea suffered much from his promiscuous wife, Gomer. But God’s mercy prevailed. God said: “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt” (Hos 2:14, 15). As God encouraged Hosea, so in Christ we find the Lover of our souls encouraging us. He will bring back the prodigals. He will restore the true worship in the church. He will bless His people with peace and prosperity. May revival come! Worship the Lord!