‘When victory is swallowed up by defeat’ (Joshua 7:1-26)

After the resounding victory of the people of Israel over the city of Jericho, Joshua 7:1-26 records how the people of Israel stumbled at the smaller hurdle of the city of Ai where they suffered a resounding defeat. The causes of this defeat were many. One was the trap of self-confidence that Joshua and his men fell for. The defeat of Jericho only inflated their pride not their humility. Another was the trap of prayerlessness. Joshua fell on his face before the Lord after the defeat, but maybe should have sought the Lord before the battle. The main reason for their loss was the trap of disobedience. Unbeknown to Joshua, one of his men, Achan, kept some of the spoil from the victory over Jericho for himself and God was not pleased. It was only when Achan’s sin was exposed and judged that Israel could go on. Thankfully God does not make our sins public (unlike Achan’s) and has also provided us with gracious means of salvation through the death of Jesus on the cross.