Joshua 7:1 opens with the sobering statement, “the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.”
Although we do not find this statement very often in Scripture, we do see many Old and New Testament passages dealing with the wrath of God.
The Joshua 7:1 statement is very graphic and could literally be translated, the nose of the Lord burned.
What was the Lord burning about in Joshua 7?
The Lord was angered over the covenant violation of the nation regarding how one Israelite by the name of Achan kept a Babylonian garment, fifty shekels of gold, and two hundred shekels of silver instead of devoting it to the Lord as He commanded in Joshua 6 (7:21 cf., 6:18-19).
Achan’s sin literally stopped the forward march of Israel into the Promised Land at Ai and resulted in him and his family being taken from the camp of Israel and destroyed (7:24-26).
What are the transcending principles in this passage that are appropriate for us today?
Perhaps the most obvious is that God is a holy and a just God committed to His Word and dealing with sin whether it is an action or an attitude.
Despite the sober tone of the passage, it is not without hope.
As one writer states, “defeats can be turned into triumphs, but only when sin is dealt with appropriately and God’s ways are honored . . . “ (Hamilton, Handbook on the Historical Books, p. 46).
May God help us to love God and His ways and to hate sin and its deadly consequences.
May God also help us to rejoice in the perfect sin bearer, the Lord Jesus Christ who has dealt with our sin, once and for all.