But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully and violated their obligation in regard to the things [off limits] under the ban [those things belonging to the Lord], for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban [for personal gain]. Therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the Israelites. – Joshua 7:1
We may also make a small application to our own lives from this. At the point that sin enters into life, we are no longer functioning as a ‘whole’ tool for God. When bitterness flairs up, when we become angry, when we backbite or gossip, we are out of fellowship with God and we cannot ‘wholly’ fulfill any sort of divine purpose. This is where Israel found herself. Israel had become infected with sin and God viewed her and God could not work through her. Hence, the defeat at Ai, hence our own spiritual defeat when we are out of fellowship. However, once we are back in fellowship, via I John 1:9, we again can carry out our divine purpose and regain our momentum. The same was true of Israel—once the evil’s removed, Israel would go into Ai and conquer it.
The necessity of rededication – the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says that things run down. This takes place in every area of life. It works in life itself. You get older and your body begins to break down. If you have owned a car, then you know that things run down. Cars break down. Commitments run down, too. You will always tend to take the point of least resistance as your commitment runs down. You cannot run your spiritual engine on yesterday’s gasoline.
Like Joshua, we serve God in enemy territory and real risk comes with the territory.
It was in this sphere of influence that human beings could somehow contribute to the holy intention of the Lord for a fallen humanity. Through strict observance and obedience to the Law, Israel, the chosen people of God, exemplified a distinctive witness to a holy way of life to the darkened world around them. Worship of the true and living God was positioned in stark contrast to the gross paganism that abounded in the nations surrounding Israel.
Behold the great and valiant hero Joshua lies there on the ground with his faith, who had received the strong Word of God, and God alone can raise him up again. Why is he so despondent? Simply because God, to try him, had concealed Himself and had disheartened him, in order that Joshua might learn to realize what man is and can do without the divine help.