Read the full chapter here.
Joshua 7 is a heavy read, isn’t it? Right off the bat, in v.1, we see people disobeying God. These people in this place and at this time were in a covenant relationship with God that said, simply, that obedience brought blessing and disobedience brought a curse.
Joshua sends men ahead to scout what is before them (v.2) and the report comes that there is no great obstacle (v.3). The three thousand men sent forward enter into battle and make a quick retreat (vv.4-5).
Joshua’s response is one of grief (v.6) and he questions God’s plans to bring them so far yet have them defeated (vv.7-9). Then, in vv.10-15, the reason for their defeat becomes clear. The people have transgressed [the] covenant and taken some of the devoted things, stolen, and lied. This is in direct contravention of what we read in 6.18, and God here is staying true to His Word in saying that this must be punished.
In vv.16-21 the culprit is found and confession is made. We see the pattern of sin began with looking, then coveting, and finally taking. Punishment is swift and strong, and a warning as to the consequences of sin was witnessed by the people that day.
For you and for me, we are no longer in the same kind of covenantal relationship with God. Our position and our status before God comes only through the work of Jesus on our behalf. Our sin deserves the consequences we see here in Joshua 7, but because Jesus took those consequences Himself on the cross we need not.
For a thought to take into today, I love what David Guzik wrote on this:
“Our position before God is secure in Jesus; but our fellowship with Him is hindered by our own sin (1 John 1:6).
This fellowship with God is our wellspring of power to live in the Spirit”.