“The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.  13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.”  (Joshua 7:10—13)


            Joshua sent men out to spy on the land.  The men returned and said, Not all the army will have to go up against Ai.  The Israelites were routed, and thirty-six lost their lives in the battle.  Joshua tore his clothes and fell face down to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. 

            The Israelites were routed and beaten because someone in the team had taken some of the devoted things; they had stolen them, lied about them, and put them in their possession. It is unfortunate that ONE person’s sin seems private to them, and yet it affects everyone else who did not commit that sin. 

            There is NO PRIVATE SIN.  Whatever a person chooses to sin privately, they often think they are not hurting anyone.  However, nothing is further from the truth.  The sin I committed in secret will always find its way out.  The individual who stole the dedicated and devoted things to God thought no one would know about it or find out.  It costs the whole nation of Israel humiliation, defeat, and the death of thirty-six individuals. 

            Joshua stayed on the ground before the ark of the Lord until evening. He spent time praying about the situation. One of the lessons I take away from this is that there is a time to pray, and there is a time when we do not need to pray but respond to common sense.  So many times, people keep praying about something that they already know they need to deal with. 

            We must pray about everything, but there is a time when we must do what we already know.  God helped Joshua out not to stay praying but to take action.  Principles I take away from this passage portion:

  • STAND UP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON YOUR FACE?   Israel has sinned and violated God’s commandments.  Later, the one person who sinned was identified, but God said the whole nation sinned.  After a big victory in Jericho, the Israelites suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of a much smaller country, Ai.  The principle is that I must stop praying when I know I must REPENT and do the right thing. 
  • I CAN’T STAND AGAINST my enemies when I chose to live in sin.  Sin made me liable to destruction.  Unless I destroy whatever is in my life that is devoted to destruction, God is not with me in my battle. 
  • I MUST CONSECRATE MYSELF and prepare myself for God to work in me.  Consecration means to set apart and to dedicate one’s life to God. 


These principles help me return to God so his presence continues to abide in me. I am reminded that I can’t expect to be with God while walking in sin.  I can’t expect to grow in God when I continue to entertain sin in my life.  I can’t expect to win over my sins when I continue to hide them in my heart.  Instead, I must hide God’s word in my heart so I may not sin against him. 


            Jesus, I pray that you help me not to make any provision for sin in my life.  I know I don’t do well.  I sometimes allowed sin to be in the way of my walking with you.  Please teach me how to live a consecrated life, a life that is set apart for you and your purpose.  I also pray that you help me not to keep praying over my sins but to do the right thing.  I long to walk with you in holiness and a consecrated life.  Forgive me for times that I allow sin in my life, even though I know I must repent from them.  Thank you for your grace and for your kindness, which led me to repentance.  I look to you daily.  Amen!