Read Joshua 7
Get Sin Out of Your Life
The children of Israel defeated many enemies that would have been too strong without God’s divine assistance. When they approached Ai, the Israelite spies told Joshua that a smaller group of men could take the land because “the people of Ai are few” (Joshua 7:3); there was no need to tire the whole company in the battle. Joshua followed their advice and sent only three thousand men to fight. They had full confidence that they would win the battle without trouble.
Thirty-six Israelite soldiers perished while retreating from Ai. They were unable to triumph in what should have been one of their easiest battles yet. What was the problem? Why didn’t God help them? That was Joshua’s question to the Lord, with torn clothes and dust on his head, his face to the earth.
God answered, “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff” (Joshua 7:10-11).
When we allow sin in our lives, it hinders us spiritually. When we are too close to others who are sinning grievously, it hinders us spiritually. The closer we are to sin, the further we are from God—and the further God is from us.
Joshua and the children of Israel had to remove the sin from the camp; Achan, the one who had taken the garment, gold, and silver, was punished for his sin and removed from the Israelites. In so doing, Israel was again blessed by God, and they were allowed to defeat Ai.
What battles are you losing because of your sin, or the sin of others close to you? You may not be guilty of another’s sin, but you can still suffer consequences through your association with them. Paul warned the Corinthians, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). He further writes, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14). He then makes application: “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). In other words, get sin out of your life!