A Prayer to Obey When Faced with Temptations
By Chelsey DeMatteis
“Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings.” – Joshua 7:11
I have absolutely loved my time studying the book of Joshua, it’s a current favorite book of the Bible with our almost 5-year-old! It’s convicted me and encouraged me. Most of all, the Holy Spirit has prompted me to look at the areas of my life that I’ve set on the back burner.
As I read through the book my jaw dropped at the events that unfolded in Joshua chapter 7. (I love when God’s Word does this.) In this portion of scripture, we watch the Israelites set out to destroy Ai. However, that plan did not pan out the way Joshua had hoped – they were defeated and dismayed. This sent Joshua to his knees in an outcry to God. He couldn’t understand why God allowed them to lose this battle.
“God responded to Joshua, ‘Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.’” – Joshua 7:10-12
One man, by the name Achan, chose to keep several of the very things God commanded be destroyed when He gave Jericho to the Israelites. Something we know about God and His character is He doesn’t give l commands as options but as rules and boundaries that must be obeyed. And when these commands are not obeyed there will always be a consequence. Because we serve a holy and loving God.
What God calls Joshua to do as a consequence to Achan left me speechless but reminds us yet again of the holy God we serve. “And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.’” Joshua 7:15
Jaw-dropping right? “All” Achan has must be destroyed. This meant not only the possessions in his tent but his entire family. Everything. What an incredibly gut-wrenching yet true example of what happens when we choose to defy God and His commands of us. While we can rest assured our family and all our possessions aren’t going to be physically destroyed by the people in our neighborhood; the destruction of the sinful choice to defy God still destroys so much. Inside our hearts and ripples into the lives of those around us.
Achan was no different than you and I. He did what many do on a daily basis. Take the bait of defying God in secret, concealing it in the dark, then wind up feeling the weight of life unraveling as God brings the truth to the light and consequences commence.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will use Joshua 7 to convict you in the same way it did me. I pray it causes you to see the areas of your life you’ve tucked away (big or small), hoping no one will confront them. There is freedom in things coming to the light and by God’s grace, we live on this side of the cross – where redemption and hope are offered because of Christ.
Lord, thank you for the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I ask that You move my heart to a surrendered place that craves closeness with You. Father, I pray that as I grow in the knowledge of what you command of me, I will follow You boldly. Help me see that the consequences I face due to sin are out of Your love for me – You discipline me as a father disciplines his child. In Jesus’ name, amen.