By: Hunter Jones
Joshua 7 is always uncomfortable for me to read. One man sins, and his entire family pays the price for it. Oh, and 36 Israelites die in battle, too. It seems so harsh—to allow the whole nation to be defeated and to stone a man and his sons and daughters all because he stole robes, silver, and gold.

But the sin of this man Achan was much more than the theft of the spoils of war. And his sin wasn’t only his own—it was mirrored in the attitude of the whole nation.

Up to this point, every step the Israelites had taken into the Promised Land had been directed by God. From the way they crossed the Jordan River, to their plan of attack on the city of Jericho, they had trusted and followed God’s very specific directions. 

But now we see a turn—in Achan and in the nation as a whole. Not only does Achan take some of the things from Jericho that are to be devoted to the Lord, but the Israelites think now is the time to start planning their own attacks. So, Joshua sends spies to the city of Ai, and makes a plan of attack without even consulting God. Odd, considering that up to this point God has mapped out the Israelites every move. When Israel attacks Ai with just a few thousand men and without the direction of the Lord, they are defeated and 36 Israelites die. Achan’s rebellion certainly didn’t help their cause, but it was their collective pride that brought them low. 

And while I cannot say that the subsequent stoning of Achan is not still difficult or uncomfortable to read, I do know that this is the response of a holy, just God and that even here His mercy is shown in not wiping out the entire nation.

It is especially uncomfortable to read because I know this same pride is present in me.

In the midst of a particularly difficult season, my current sin of choice is distraction, often in the form of screen time. Instead of trusting the God of all comfort for the words of truth I need, I run to distraction. It is much easier to watch hours of television or YouTube than to trust my King and Savior with my hurting heart. 

In my pride, I am faced with the same choice as Achan and the Israelites–will I choose to trust and obey God, or not? Will I take the outstretched hand of my Savior Jesus, or will I choose to do what I think is right?

In Joshua 7, I feel the Lord beckoning me–beckoning us–toward Himself. He is commanding us, as He did the Israelites, to “consecrate” ourselves, which means to give ourselves fully over to Him and His purposes for us. 

For me, consecrating myself means decreasing my use of screens or other forms of distraction to allow me to meet with, receive from, and be shaped by my King, learning to trust Him even in this difficult season. I am not doing this perfectly, but God is meeting me even when I collapse in my attempts to return to Him. For you, consecrating yourself may mean confessing your sin to a trusted discipler, leader, or spouse who can help you walk toward being entirely devoted to Christ, without the weight of sin and shame holding you back or “melting” your heart, as the sin of the Israelites did to them.

Whatever next step the Holy Spirit has laid before you, do not hesitate. Step in. Consecrate yourself. For when you do, you will be met by the fullness of grace and truth—Jesus Himself.

So, “…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
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