This is the beginning of a new series on discipleship.
The great military leader of Israel, Joshua, had just destroyed the walls surrounding the Canaanite city of Jericho. God then commanded the Israelites to destroy and burn every man, woman, child, and animal in the city and bring to Him the gold, silver, bronze, and iron for His treasury. Achan, a member of the army disobeyed God’s command and took for himself a beautiful piece of clothing, some silver and a bar of gold. As a result, the Israelites were embarrassingly defeated in their next battle against the people of Ai. This defeat caused the people of Israel to lose hope. Finally, God pointed out to Joshua that someone in Israel had been unfaithful to His command. God gave Joshua the command to burn the one responsible for this. Eventually, Achan and his entire family were stoned and burned for their act of disobedience to God’s command. Afterwards the Israelites were able to continue their conquest and successfully defeat the people of Ai.
Obedience to God’s commands is essential. The story of Achan teaches this truth in an unforgettable way. However, was this degree of obedience to God expected only from those in the Old Testament? Didn’t Jesus expect His followers to obey Him in this way? His followers, known as the church, were given specific commands. One of those commands was to “make disciples” of all the nations (Matthew 28:19). Has the church acted like Achan or Joshua with this command? If we have acted like Achan, our disobedience will lead to God’s people suffering defeat at the hands of Satan. If we hold fast to God’s commands like Joshua, God’s people will be equipped to defeat Satan. This is what we must strive for as a church.