By Dr Cecil Stewart OBE
JOSHUA CHAPTER 7
Please take your Bible and read carefully the whole chapter before you begin. While reading the study please keep your Bible open, so that you can gain the maximum benefit from this feast in the Word.
Dabbling With The Devil
The first pitfall that brought them down was disobedience. VERSE 1 says “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.”
PSALM 101:7 says “He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight”. Sin and disobedience rendered the children of Israel useless to overcome their enemies, but when they walked in obedience they were invincible.
JAMES 4:7 exhorts us to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” When God gives us commandments and guidance through His Word it is not that He wants to rob us of the good things of life, but on the contrary, He wants us to have the very best in life now and in eternity.
HEBREWS 12:16 reminds us how Esau sold his birthright just to satisfy his appetite. People are making the very same mistake today because they are giving in to Satan’s deception. They are being controlled by ungodly appetites of lust which bring them down to shame, sin and eternal defeat. Many fall into Satan’s deception through failure to study and read God’s will for their lives in the Scriptures. It is the birthright of all who are willing to receive Jesus as Saviour and Lord to have Eternal and Abundant Life now, through repenting and turning from our old life of sin, thus becoming a new creation in Christ.
See 2 CORINTHIANS 5:15, ROMANS 10:9, and JOHN 3:3. Those who allow Christ to rule and reign in their lives will enjoy ruling and reigning with Him.
ROMANS 5:17 “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ.”
Remember obedience to God gives us dominion and authority over Satan and the circumstances of life that would intimidate us.
1 JOHN 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” On the other hand as we see in this story of Joshua Chapter 7 disobedience brought death and defeat.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9 – 10 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Make no mistake about it God’s law of sowing and reaping (GALATIANS 6:7) has never changed and disobedience brings its horrible harvest, just as obedience brings blessing and victory.
EPHESIANS 5:3 – 8 “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” Today we can avoid the pitfalls that defeated the children of Israel by getting to know what God’s word says and act accordingly.
COLOSSIANS 3:5 “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Deception and covetousness belong to the devil. That’s why we can’t afford to dabble with the devil in any way whatsoever. Consider carefully the following Scriptures – 2 CORINTHIANS 11:11 – 14, 2 CORINTHIANS 6:17, REVELATION 21:8, PROVERBS 12:22. May you be encouraged to deny the devil any dominion over your life but stay in strength through obedience.
VERSES 2 – 5
They Underestimated The Task And Took Victory For Granted
It would appear that after the great victory at Jericho, the children of Israel took the battle at Ai for granted, and underestimated the greatness of the task.
JOSHUA 7:3 “And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up: and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.” Because they thought the enemy was just a few, they decided there was no need for them all to fight. Unity was therefore lacking and a casual attitude seemed evident at that time. This same attitude has resulted in the failure of the Church to fully fulfil God’s call. Putting responsibility unto others, while we live in the comfort zone, never wins the war. Unity and wholeheartedness are essential both in the spiritual life of family and in the Church. PROVERBS 28:26 “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”
1 CORINTHIANS 10:12 “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” We cannot overestimate all the greatness of God’s goodness and blessing upon our lives neither should we underestimate the greatness of the task that we as God’s people are called to do in pulling down spiritual strongholds, winning the lost and raising up a Christlike army for active service. We need to unite in wholehearted prayer for each other as never before.
VERSES 7 – 12
Despondency And Discouragement
Joshua 7:5 – 8 “And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water. And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, wherefore has thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies.” Joshua like most of us had his moments of discouragement and despondency, but he immediately went to seek God and found the cause of the failure. The Lord told him in VERSES 10 – 12 to get up and deal with the sin in the camp. He was left in no doubt as to why they had to turn their backs and run from their enemies, and when he removed the cause, victory came. Today we must not allow discouragement to stay upon us. We must recognize Satan’s key instruments against the believer to beat us down, and intimidate us with despondency and discouragement, through looking only at the black side of life and our misfortunes, without going on to find the cause and the solution to the problem. We must rise up with a forward looking faith to be all that God has planned for us here on earth.
The searchlight was switched on
The searchlight was switched on and Joshua heard from God that He would not be with them anymore except they would destroy the accursed thing from among them. The search continued until the culprit was found. His name was Achan. He had taken the Babylonish garment and two hundred shekels weight. He saw them and took them. The sin of this one man brought death, defeat and humiliation to Israel. The penalty on him was the death of himself and his whole family in the valley of Achor. We surely must be reminded of the fact that none of us live unto ourselves. Many look upon us as an example and the things we do, because they consider it in order.
God led Joshua, “Fear not, neither be dismayed, take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai, and his people, and his city and his land.” Joshua 8:1
“May we avoid these pitfalls and refuse to covet that belongs to Babylon, this ungodly world’s system.” Remember God wants us to win every battle and that is why He has given clear instruction in His Word how we ought to like in every area of our lives.
We are invincible as long as we are totally obedient.
May God bless you as you live the life of an overcomer.