The Lord had battles for Joshua to fight. He saw the faith of a younger Joshua who believed the giants living in the Promise Land could be conquered. Joshua obeyed the Lord by marching around Jericho for six days, and the seventh day the Lord collapsed the walls with a shout of faith from His people.
This accomplishment in Joshua's life came because of the Lord's leading. Yet Joshua would need to learn that when careful consultation with the Lord is neglected, then even godly leaders may temporarily lead their people in the wrong direction. (Josh. 7) The Lord definitely wanted the Israelites to fight against the people of Ai. The Israelites outnumbered their enemy, and by all appearance, victory was a given. Instead, the lives of thirty-six men were lost and more would die if they continued the fight. What went wrong?
Coming before the Lord on behalf of the loss of these men, Joshua asks the Lord for an explanation. "There is sin in the camp," the Lord revealed to Joshua.
Joshua wasn't a terrible leader, but in this case, his flesh got in the way. His men could have easily won the scrimmage against Ai, but the Lord knew something needed proper care before He would bless His people with this victory.
The sin may have been hidden from Joshua, but not from the Lord. Sin prevented the Lord from carrying out His plans for His people, and this is still true today. Most churches across America will not see what the Lord had planned for them because of the hidden sins within their congregation. A godly man may be leading the flock, but if the flock behaves like wolves devouring one another, then lives are lost into the hands of the enemy.
The sin of Achen rendered the Israelites powerless against Ai. However, once the Lord revealed the sin to Joshua and he properly dealt with it, then the victory against Ai came easily. The same is true today. When God's people repent and stand shoulder-to-shoulder against their real enemy instead of each other, then revival can come.
We must rid our lives of pride, gossip, anger, division, and other such sins. May we instead stand unified in mercy, grace, forgiveness, and kindness toward those in our congregation. This enables the lost to see Jesus living among us. May we take care of the sin in the camp, so the Lord can do great and mighty things!