Most of you are probably familiar with the story of Joshua and the children and of Israel’s amazing defeat of the city of Jericho. They obeyed the instructions the Lord gave them and marched around the city for seven days until the Lord caused the walls to fall in on the city. The people were able to utterly destroy this stronghold in Canaan when they obeyed the Lord’s instructions. However, there was one man who disobeyed the instruction to leave all the spoils of Jericho for the Lord. Achan took of the accursed things in Jericho and hid them in his tent. His disobedience seemed insignificant until a couple thousand men went up to defeat the small city of Ai and met unexpected defeat. The Lord revealed to Joshua that there was sin in the camp that had to be eradicated before Israel would be victorious against the enemies in the Promised Land.
The thing that struck me was how many people were affected by Achan’s disobedience – thirty-six people died in the Israelites defeat at Ai, Israel was put at risk for other nations to come against them, Achan and his whole family were stoned to death and all his belongings were burned in the valley of Achor. Achan’s coveting the Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold caused great distress for the whole nation of Israel. I believe God uses stories like this one to illuminate an important truth – Obedience is a non-negotiable matter in the eyes of a holy God. What are you trying to negotiate when it comes to matters of obedience in your life today?