And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?” The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Joshua 7:7-11
Defeat amidst victory is a bitter pill to swallow.
Joshua and the people of God had just experienced a miraculous crossing of the Jordan River. Soon after, God gave them an unlikely victory against the heavily fortified city of Jericho. They were by all accounts celebrating some big time wins. The town of Ai was small, and God’s people were confident in the battle. Sending a small contingent of troops, the Israelites were routed and lost 36 of their men. This was the bitterness experienced by Joshua. His response? Lay down and cry about it.
Now God had a different response. He told Joshua to get up. The reason for the defeat was not because of insincerity; a particular sin needed to be dealt with. God named it, and Joshua dealt with it accordingly. Sometimes we are Joshua in the way we respond to sin. What we learn in this situation is that God wants His people to address their sin issue with specific and direct action. Next time you feel sorry for sin, let that be the trigger for you to name it and address it.