If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
II Chronicles 7:14
Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai to spy out the region as they progressed further into the Promised Land. We see no mention that he consulted first with the Lord. The spies’ report came back that it was not necessary to send all of the fighting men; the fight could be easily won with a few because there were only a few men in Ai and it could easily be taken.
A small army was sent on the advice of the spies, and the men of Ai chased the Israelites from the city, killing thirty-six Israeli men. Joshua, upon hearing the bad news, fell face down before the Lord: Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell face down to the ground before the ark of the Lord remaining there until evening. The elders of Israel did the same and sprinkled dust on their heads. (Joshua 7:6) Joshua asked the Lord why He had brought the Israelites across the Jordan only to deliver them into the hands of the enemy. Isn’t it like us to blame God for our defeats? God quickly showed Joshua that there had been sin in the camp: The Lord said to Joshua, “stand up! What are you doing down on your face!
Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant.” (v.10) God reveals to Joshua that defeat was brought on the nation of Israel because someone from the tribe of Judah had disobeyed God and had stolen the riches of Canaan in disobedience to the Lord. Quickly Joshua dealt with the sin in the camp as it had affected them all.
There are times when we experience the effects of sin in our own lives and our sin affects the lives of others as well. The nation of Israel was affected by Achan’s sin, and similarly our sin can affect others. God gave instruction in His Word on how to handle sin that has a corporate effect: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (II Chronicles 7:14)
Is there a sin in your life that is affecting you and others? Are you willing to humble yourself, seek the Lord’s forgiveness and ask for pardon?
He has promised in His Word that if you are willing to do this, He will heal your land.
I am afraid to let go of my sin. My sin has identified me for so long that I do not know how I could live any other way. But I have seen the destruction that my sin has brought on me and others I love. Forgive me as I turn away from (fill in the blank) and I ask You to bring restoration.
In Jesus’ name, Amen