God is love, but He is also fire. In Joshua 7, Achan was unfaithful in regard to the devoted things, and was stoned to death. He only took a robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekel, did he deserve to die? Why was God so harsh on him? We need to know that Achan’s sin was not in taking those things but in disobeying God. In a crucial time of an era, God has to be very strict and precise in executing His orders. His principles must be observed with extra care in such a critical moment. This is like an army that is engaging in a war; in such a crucial moment, every order must be strictly obeyed.
Let us look back to Joshua 6. In that chapter, the Israelites took down the most powerful city in the land of Canaan, Jericho. In fact, we all have to face our enemies and different difficulties, just like the powerful Jericho. The difficulties can be the weakness of our flesh. Our body is our life, which should be good. However, because of the disobedience of man, sin came into our flesh. Our difficulties can also come from our families, neighbors, or bosses, but there would be only one or two real problems to be dealt with. The Israelites’ taking down of Jericho symbolizes that God wants us to deal with the most serious and difficult problems in our lives. When we solve the core issues in our lives, other minor problems will also be solved. Even though our bodies will deteriorate gradually, but our spirit will become stronger because of God. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Nothing is impossible for God.
In Joshua 7, the Israelites attacked Ai, but they failed to take it down. It was because they underestimated the enemy. Comparing to Jericho, Ai was indeed a small city, but pride goes before a fall. The Israelites sent only 2000-3000 people out to take the city; they underestimated their enemy, so they failed. The second reason for the failure of the Israelites was that they ignored God. They forgot how they took down Jericho through the power of God, and they didn’t pray to God before they set out to take Ai.
People from Ai killed 36 Israelites, at this the hearts of the Israelites melted in fear and became like water. Joshua cried to God, and God told him that they were defeated because the Israel had sinned and disobeyed God’s command; they took things they should not have taken. The Israelites must consecrate themselves and remove the devoted things among them, otherwise God would not be with them anymore and they would not be able to stand against their enemies.
In this chapter, we learn that we need to repent and consecrate ourselves. We also learn that we should not be proud and underestimate our enemies. We should always stand in awe of God and pray to Him. We should take God’s words as food. We should gradually equip ourselves, and train ourselves step by step. We all have different gifts, in a sense, we are like different kinds of vessels, but we will all be used by God. People will know God through you; if we take our belief and service to God seriously, people will see our good behaviors and follow us to God.