Ai, Achan and Zero Tolerance

Joshua 7-13, The conquest is on! Jericho was a great victory, the people must have thought this is going to easy, why did we wait so long to begin the conquest! In my last blog I said that arrogance can be defeating and so it was at Ai. It took less than a battle or two for the “sons of Israel to act unfaithful.” Achan takes what was determined to be under the “ban” which means he took what God had set apart. Judgment comes quickly. The anger of God burned against the sons of Israel. Disobedience has consequences, severe consequences. Our God is a jealous God. He demands obedience, my father demanded obedience and trust me I know what happens if I disobeyed either one! Sometimes the judgment is delayed, it wasn’t until the next battle that the punishment became evident. Imagine Joshua knowing God is giving the victory, and when the defeat of Ai happens, I am sure Joshua was bewildered – Like What just happened God? Joshua gets his answers quickly, to the point – There is Sin in the Camp! I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that sermon. The Camp is the people of God. God vowed, I will not be with you unless you destroy the things under the Ban that is in your midst. You will not be able to stand before your enemies, until you get this right. Zero tolerance. In the Camp might as well say “In the Church.”  Achan sinned deliberately, so did Annais and Sapphira, so do we, and God has zero tolerance for such.

Joshua goes on a seek and destroy mission. He parred down the tribes, to Judah, then to clans, that of Zerahites, then to the family of Zabdi the family of Achan. During the interrogation we find that the very temptations that beguiled Eve in the Garden of Eden were at work in Achan’s heart. We must be careful not to think more highly of ourselves then we should for 1 John 2:15-17 tells us the same temptation are at work in us. The penalty was death – sin always has a penalty of death. Israel took all of Achan’s family, livestock and possessions out and stoned them to death and burned them and buried all that was left.

I wonder what would happen if our Churches today took such a hard line on disobedience and sin in their midst? DO we wonder why there is no victory or moving of the Holy Spirit? Could there be sin in the camp? Could it be isolated to your family, to you specifically ? Zero Tolerance. To him who knows to do good and does not do it, it is sin.  God was true to His word. He demands Holiness, nothing less.

The remaining chapters for this week tell us how the LORD provided victory. Even the craftiness of the Gibeonites to deceive Israel and remain alive. The conquest moves rapidly after sin had been eradicated from the camp. Numerous kings of the Canaanites are defeated in chapter 12. This victory season prepares for the division of the land to the various sons of Israel.  But something happens in chapter 13 that causes great consternation to me. Chapter 13:13, “But the sons of Israel did not dispossess the Geshurites or the Machinates.” Instead of destroying the people of the land, their livestock and possessions, the tribes spared the people and allowed them to live as conscripts to them in the land. DISOBEDIENCE – to deviate from the commands of God is to usher His anger. Now I realize some of you may be thinking, well they just showed mercy. God had already judged them. This would be King Saul’s sin as well  when he saved King Agag. The enemy must be defeated completely not partially. The enemies like Satan himself seeks to survive to fight another day. This key verse will be the downfall of Israel and they get steeped into Baalism. ZERO TOLERANCE for sin folks!!

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