In the book of Joshua, the scriptures tell us about a small city that Israel had to pass through on their way to the promise land. The name of the city was Ai. Compared to most, it was small with a population of about twelve thousand people. Israel had just defeated Jericho and was reveling in that victory. Joshua as the new leader was rejoicing in the victory with all of Israel. He was rejoicing so until he forgot to seek the Lord for how to defeat Ai. He was rejoicing so until he did not notice that an accursed thing had been brought among the people. God's people are to always watch and pray.
When Israel came to the land of Ai, Joshua sent men from Jericho (the city they had just defeated) to spy out the land (Joshua 7:2). These men came back with a report that only 2-3 thousand men was needed to defeat Ai. Joshua listened to the men from a defeated city (Jericho). The men of Israel were defeated!! Some of them was even killed (Joshua 7:5). The men of Israel were chased from Ai. Their hearts melted. Joshua rent his clothes, fell to the earth and cried out to the Lord (Joshua 7:5-6). But wait, why pray and cry out now? Why did he not ask God how to defeat Ai before he sent men to battle? Why did Joshua listen to men from a defeated city and not seek to hear from the Lord?
Herein is an error that a lot of God's people make today. Don't wait until defeat comes before you seek the Lord. Seek Him for everything. Do not depend on the expert, the internet or people. Seek the Lord for direction in all things.
As Joshua was praying before the Lord, God told him 'get thee up'. God asked him, "wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hat sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have taken of the accursed thing, and have also stole, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff." Joshua 7:10-11.
Error number two, their was sin in the camp. Yes one man was guilty of the sin (Achan), but one is enough to sin in the sight of the Lord, God. Many today think what they do has not affect on the church as a whole, but it does. Once Christ is named as ones Lord and Savior, there is an obligation to be a witness for Him. Sin separates man from God. Because of the failure to seek the Lord, and the accursed thing being in the camp, Israel was defeated by the occupants of Ai. The little foxes spoil the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15).
When God says not to do something, He means just that. His word, the Bible, is the source of all that God wants and expects from His people. Failure to obey the Lord, take hold of things that are against what the Bible says or your Pastor says will bring defeat in the face of your enemy. The way Achan was handled by God also shows us the result of sin. Achan and all of his family was killed because he had taken of that which God said not to.
Look what God says in verse 12: "Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you".
Joshua searched the people to find the one that had disobeyed. In verse 20 Achan admits he took of the accursed thing. Verse 21 says he took Babylonish garment, silver, wedges of gold. Saints are not to have the things of the world in their homes either.
In verse 24 and 25 Achan, his sons, his daughters his oxen, his asses, his sheep and his tent and all that he had was stoned and burned. Once the accursed things were removed, God turned from the fierceness of his anger.
When the word of God says not to do something, don't do it. To think that God will over look sin because its you is an error.
The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23