READ: Joshua 7:1-8:35
- Another strange story follows Jericho. A town as small as its name, Ai, is next in the line of cities to be taken. Joshua, with invigorated confidence, sends a small band of warriors to take the city. Except they lose. They are soundly defeated. For no apparent reason. But still, they lost. Joshua began to complain to God because of the defeat only to have God call attention to Israel’s failure. The family of Achan had taken some of the banned articles for personal gain.
- Sin in a family had brought defeat to the nation. Reading this story highlights in the boldest of terms the importance of obedience. It isn’t just the personal consequences that arise, it’s the communal ones. We are part of a community and our actions, our attitudes, they impact those around us. Our sin may be private, but is never solely personal.
- Obedience matters. Being part of a community means that we take our responsibility for the welfare of that community seriously. We certainly never steal from that which has been devoted to God as His. Historically, churches have suffered greatly from the sins of their leaders. Sins thought to be totally private/personal, become the cause of great failure for an entire congregation. Often, those things ruin a church’s influence for decades.
- Describe a time you saw a whole church hurt by someone’s sin.
- Why does communal responsibility seem such a foreign concept to so many?
- How can we affirm the power of community and the need for faithfulness?
Thank God for the place of community in our lives. Pray that we are faithful to our community. Commit to not letting your private sins hurt the faith community around you.