But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Juda, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel.
Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai.
And they returned to Joshua and said to him , “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.”
So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai.
And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water. ~Joshua 7:1-5
Before the defeat at Ai, Joshua and the Israelites had marched around the walls of Jericho as the Lord had commanded them and He knocked down the walls (Joshua 6). The Lord had also commanded them not to take any accursed thing from Jericho. We see in Joshua 7:1 that not all of the Israelites obeyed this command. We also we something else or, rather, we don’t see something very important in the beginning of this chapter. What we don’t see is Joshua calling on The all-knowing Lord for guidance in the attack of Ai.
Instead, Joshua seeks the “wise” council of men who have a limited perspective. These men are unaware of the actions of Achan. These men are unaware of the consequences of sin. These men are unaware of the need to purge the congregation of the accursed things. These men are just… men.
Sadly, Joshua listens to these men when he should have called on The Lord. They attack Ai and the Israelites were defeated. Had he called on The Lord the actions of Achan would have been revealed and the outcome of the attack would surely have been different.
How many decisions – small or large – do we make on a daily basis without consulting The Lord? I make many. In this verse The Lord has quietly reminded me that He knows and sees all and that He wants to be my ultimate wise council. He wants to be yours, too.
So no matter how big or small the decisions in our lives may seem, it is to our benefit to first seek the direction of the Lord. He always has our best interest at heart.
I hope my thoughts help you understand how some Old Testament scripture can be applied to our modern lives, but don’t just take my word for it. Dive into The Bible yourself, pray, and ask the Lord to reveal His truth to you.
Have a question or a thought? Please feel free to leave a comment.