Have you ever re-read a book or watched a movie you’ve already seen?
Did you find something new that you might not have noticed the first time?
That’s how I felt while reading through the book of Joshua.
I’ve heard the story of Israel’s battle at Jericho – how they kept quiet for days, marched around the city, and finally let out a shout of triumph to see the walls come tumbling down. But, what happened after their victory is the part I missed, and it’s, unfortunately, a story and lesson for us today in itself.
God’s Instruction After the Victory
Just before the city of Jericho was destroyed, Joshua reminded his people of the Lord’s command:
“The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord…keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise, you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction…” (Joshua 6:17-18)
A man named Achan chose to be disobedient and secretly took for himself gold, silver, and a beautiful robe. In their next battle against the people of Ai, Israel is defeated. Their leader Joshua is mourning over their loss when the Lord speaks:
“Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep…They have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies.” (Joshua 7:11-12)
The story goes on to share that Achan and his family were stoned and all his possessions destroyed. Israel went on to defeat Ai and their covenant with the Lord was renewed.
We Are One, Unified Body
These few verses in the Bible are so intense that it might seem impossible to apply anything learned here to our lives today. But, I found three important truths to help us with that:
The Body of Christ is affected by its smallest part.
It seems extreme for one man’s sin to affect the entire population of God’s people, right? Maybe if it was Joshua, the leader, who fell short, it would be easier to accept. I believe this is due to a lack of true unity in the Body. If my pinky toe were cut off, all of my focus would be on repairing that injury before continuing in my purpose as a body.
We must keep each other accountable.
I’m sure the Israelites thought it incredibly unfair that they had to lose lives in battle just because of one man’s greed. That point could be argued, but it won’t be won. God designed for us to be our brother’s keeper, to look out for one another (Galatians 6:2). We have an obligation to love our brothers and sisters with the truth of God’s Word.
We are to be hidden in Christ.
The Colossians 3:3 declares that our lives have been hidden in Christ. I’d like to suggest that this verse means we are hidden in Christ’s Body; that as we confess our sins one to another, healing is so readily available because our aim isn’t to expose each other, but rather cover our fellow believers (James 5:16).
So, What’s the Play Call?
There’s necessity and beauty in being unified through Christ. Let’s recognize the value each member of the Body possesses, keeping our brothers and sisters accountable to live lives that point to Jesus. And, let us pursue healing as we promise to cover one another so that the world would see Christ through our love (1 John 4:12).