“Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you. “In the morning you must present yourselves by tribes, and the Lord will point out the tribe to which the guilty man belongs. That tribe must come forward with its clans, and the Lord will point out the guilty clan. That clan will then come forward, and the Lord will point out the guilty family. Finally, each member of the guilty family must come forward one by one. The one who has stolen what was set apart for destruction will himself be burned with fire, along with everything he has, for he has broken the covenant of the Lord and has done a horrible thing in Israel.” Joshua 7:13-15
Joshua 7 is a victorious story of the blessings that occur when people are following God. It also tells of the ultimate defeat of a whole army because one man chooses to disobey. Israel had just experienced a great victory over the city of Jericho. They miraculously defeated Jericho when its great walls tumbled down and lay in ruins by the mighty power of God.
Joshua then sent men to Ai, which in comparison would be an easy victory for Israel. But victory did not occur there. In fact, Israel’s soldiers ran for their lives and men were killed as they were running away. Joshua’s reaction to what happened was proof that he was a great and godly leader. He displayed grief for his fallen men and Israel’s future. He was also worried about how this defeat would affect the name of God.
Joshua prayed in earnest for God to reveal why they had failed to have victory and God’s answer to him was that there was “sin in the camp.” Someone had taken items from the destruction of Jericho for their personal use and had hidden them in the camp. This “sin in the camp” obstructed God’s desire to bless the nation with another victory. God will never bless us at the expense of His holiness.
If we hold ourselves accountable for sin, no one else needs to. Do whatever it takes to get out of the situation that is compromising your walk with the Lord. When we realize that we have sin in our camp, we need to deal with it swiftly so that it does not continue to drag us down and become more destructive. ~by Karen Scott