So this was a bloody reading. The picture of God in these chapters and really in the rest of the book of Joshua is a hard picture for many. It leads some to ask the question, “How could a loving God do such things?” When we ask that question we forget about the more appropriate question, “What was the true causation of death in the first place?”
The answer is in our reading today.
In the seventh chapter of Joshua we learn of a man named Achan who sinned and did not follow the wisdom and counsel of God in the destruction of Jericho, due to this man’s action Israel loses a battle and 36 soldiers die (7:5). What is Joshua’s immediate reaction?
He blames God (7:6-9).
The Lord takes the blame for a time then He stops Joshua…
“Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?” (7:10)
God asks the question rhetorically, He knows Joshua is blaming Him for the consequences of life lost, and what Joshua perceives to be impending doom.
But then God reveals to Joshua the real reason lives are lost in three little words…
“Israel has sinned…” (7:11a)
The rest of our reading today and the rest of the reading of this book, rather than blaming God, maybe we should pause and remember those words…
Maybe we should substitute our name for Israel, “Chad has sinned…”
“For the wages of SIN is death.” -Romans 6:23
God gets blamed but it is our sin and the corporate sin of all humanity that has lead to all physical and ultimately eternal death, both in the book of Joshua and beyond.
This warning was given to us (humanity) in the garden, we read it just the other day,
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” –Genesis 2:15-17
You sin, you shall surely die.
- “Israel has sinned…”
- “Chad has sinned…”
- “We all have sinned…”
Sin brings on death.
Let us lay blame at the proper feet…
And I know our reading was in Joshua…
But I praise God for the rest of the verse in Romans 6:23…
“…but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“He (Christ) Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
Amen and Amen!
Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalms 3-5