God sees it all. The good and the bad. In the case of our reading today, we learn of a man named Achan. Surely, his claim to fame in this story is nothing to be proud of. Did he seriously think he could do what the Lord had forbidden and be okay? His belief in God must have been a little shaky. His trust was in his own abilities, and his desires for wealth or prestige must have totally clouded his good sense.
Now, it’s easy for us to point fingers at Achan, isn’t it? We’re probably wondering how he could have done such a thing. But how often have we stretched the truth, broken a commandment, or dishonored God in some way only to try and keep our sins hidden from view. Maybe those around us are oblivious, but the one who counts is God. He sees it all.
Did you peek at Chapter 6 because you wanted to see how this story ended? I did. I was sure something juicy was going to happen next. Why in the world did these short verses show up to begin the transition of our story? I may have been even more surprised by the angel’s response when asked if he was friend or foe? “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.”
I suppose that we’re not necessarily supposed to get chummy with our angel of protection. Joshua clearly understood that this situation necessitated a response of great respect. “At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence.” I can picture this so vividly in my mind, can’t you?
Our reading starts with a bit of a glimpse of what is happening in the area to those hearing about God’s mighty act involving the Jordan River crossing. That fear will have a bit of time to percolate and resonate in their hearts. We might think of the old saying, “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” The anticipation of attack must have been quite something. Would they let fear move them forward or keep them stuck. We can find ourselves dealing with fear in much the same way.
But the main focus of our reading today focuses on re-establishing the covenant between God and his people. We learn that nobody has been circumcised since leaving Egypt. We know from Genesis 17:12, “From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased.” For some reason, this was God’s desire for his people.
What did you think of the reading today? Did you find it a little curious that all these men were moving rocks around? What could be the significance? Sometimes we encounter passages like this that really make us wonder. Do you think there is some hidden meaning here? Whether there is or not, ask God to let this passage speak to you.
To me, the obedience of all involved in this story shines brightly. We have Joshua who listened to God about choosing 12 men. That was in yesterday’s reading. Today God reveals to Joshua what they are to do. Joshua was obedient. The men he chose were obedient. The people all crossed the Jordan were obedient. The priests were steadfast in holding up the Ark and making sure it, and all the people, made the trek safely across.
Jerusalem is called the “Valley of Vision” here because it is where God often revealed himself. The people seem oblivious to the warnings they are being given. They are not repenting and putting their trust in God. They are doing all sorts of things, like partying, recreating on their rooftops, and preparing, all by their own power. “But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.” If they could only see how easy God was making it for them to be safe and secure. 2 Chronicles 7:14 sums it up nicely. “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
How often to do we do a similar thing? We go about our business, making plans, executing those plans, and then wonder why our plans fail. Perhaps we, too, missed the crucial piece of asking God first. Had we asked for God’s help, his input, his blessing, we may have received a message that our plans weren’t quite right. God’s plans never fail. Shouldn’t we want to make sure we are doing things God’s way?