The children and I recently finished reading the book of Joshua during our morning devotional time. Most of us know and have heard many times the story of how the Israelites defeated the city of Jericho by the miraculous hand of God. But right after that great victory, the Israelites were embroiled in another battle...the battle at Ai. Before taking on Jericho, Joshua instructed the children of Israel in Joshua 6:18-19, just as the Lord had commanded him. They were not to take any articles of gold or silver for themselves. But, little did the Israelites know at the time that Achan had taken of the "accursed thing." Riding high on the wave of their great Jericho victory, the Israelites decide to take on a much smaller city...Ai. They even decide their numbers are too great for such an insignificant battle and what ends up happening? They are routed and some of their men killed in the process.
Joshua then seeks the Lord to find out why Israel has been defeated. And what is it the YHWH tells him? In Joshua 7:13 we read, "There is an accused thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you."
Oh, how that struck me. Something seemingly so small...relatively speaking. Something hidden among Achan's things. Something secret to the rest of the members of the camp, but not from the eye of the Almighty. There are no small sins in His eyes. I began to ponder...what sin am I keeping among my things...and what affect does this have on my own family? God sees all. He knows our hearts. He knows the private secret sins that we keep from others. He sees the root of bitterness, the unsubmissive spirits, the jealousy, the envy. Something so small compared to a nation of God's people...and it brought defeat to a whole nation. One man...in one family...with a secret sin. How often do we feel that our sins are insignificant? How many times have you heard...well, this only affects me...I'm not hurting anyone but myself. I don't believe that. All sin affects others in some way. Maybe not to this magnitude...but wrong motives hurt others...bitterness destroys families...angry words wound those we love most. Oh, that we would remove the sin in our own camps! Ask God to show you today what secret sins you may be hiding...remove it. Get rid of the accursed thing...and watch and see what victory God may bring to you and the life of your family!