Day 9: Joshua 7
Here Comes Trouble…
Chapter 7 begins with the line
“But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things…”
We need to back up a bit here to find some context from the previous chapter.
The Israelites have crossed the Jordan, into the Promised Land. They’ve conquered Jericho and rescued Rahab. In the middle of chapter 6, Joshua commands his army with these words.
‘Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But 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 and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.’
Let’s look at what’s happening here in a little more detail. In today’s language we may not use the word devoted often, but we would understand it in the context of talking about a devoted husband or someone who wanted to devote more time to their family. We may also understand it in the context of something ‘given over’. For example ‘a museum devoted to a particular artist.’
Throughout the Old Testament, there are multiple instances where God asks for things to be devoted to Him. This meant irrevocable giving to the LORD, something that would no longer be redeemable by man. Complete surrender to God. No strings attached giving. This required, more often than not, total destruction. Jericho was to be totally destroyed, but that’s where trouble began.
Achan (meaning trouble) fancied some of the plunder for himself and it wasn’t just Achan we can learn from. In 1 Samuel 15 we read a similar passage of scripture involving King Saul, where things that were supposed to be completely devoted to God had strings attached.
Throughout the New Testament, followers of Jesus are encouraged, amongst other things, to be devoted to fellowship, prayer, one another, serving others, scripture and doing what is good.
In these things could we be described as being irrevocable in our giving, or do we try and hold on with strings attached because there is a sacrifice of time, money, energy?
I’m convinced as followers of Jesus, knowing what things we need to let go of is just as, if not more, important than knowing the things we can take hold of through Jesus.
I’m reminded of the verse in Matthew 16:25
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
Let’s be a Church who could say this line with confidence.
“But [insert your name] was faithful in regard to the devoted things…”
Ps Jonny Foster
Barnard Castle Campus Pastor