“So the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned… Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs…’” (Josh. 7:10-12).
Israel had just defeated Jericho. Feeling confident, Joshua sent a small force of soldiers against their next foe. But the men of Ai beat the Israelite troops. God’s soldiers ran because they were afraid. Joshua was ashamed and fell on his face before the Lord with an “Oh no, what are we going to do?” attitude (Josh. 7:6-9). That’s when God told him to get off his face and act like a man.
The reason for Israel’s defeat was not physical. The physical struggle for life or death was not the issue. The real problem went unnoticed. Achan the troubler of Israel had sinned (Josh. 7:1). God said that was the cause of the crisis. The real problem was moral, not physical. But this weakness in the nation had been buried beneath an avalanche of panic. The Israelites were so focused on preserving their physical life that they didn’t consider their spiritual condition.
The real problem in our land today is sin. But like the Israelites we have allowed the world to shift our focus. We have let the media tell us what the most serious issues are. Even Christians have become blind followers instead of discerning leaders. Social and mainstream media are saturated with talk of a virus that harms the body. What about sin that damns the soul to everlasting punishment in hell fire?
This is not a time to wallow in self-pity and fear. America has sinned. Our country has slaughtered over 60 million children since 1973. Our highest court has legalized the abomination of same-sex marriage. Satan has flooded the internet with pornography. We pay athletes and entertainers millions to trash the virtues of respect and decency. Americans have become “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (II Tim. 3:4).
We can wash our hands all we want to prevent the spread of disease, but unless we face the real threat, these efforts to preserve our civilization will be as useless as the water Pilate poured on his hands.