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A Reputation to Uphold

In Joshua 7, Joshua and Israel are flying high after defeating Jericho. They watched God do an incredible miracle, bringing the walls down as they shouted. Soon after, Joshua sends spies to check out the next conquest: Ai. They come back and report that it’s nothing and not to bother taking all the fighting men, 3,000 will do just fine.

Not so fast, it wasn’t just fine. Israel was sent fleeing as the men of Ai killed some and chased others down until “the hearts of [Israel] melted and became as water.” God wasn’t with them.

Joshua fell on his face before the ark and humbled himself with dust on his head saying,

“Alas, O Lord God, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies?  For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?” –Joshua 7:7-9

A defeat is a very crucial time. We let thought patterns in at those vulnerable moments so that if we do not hear the voice of the Lord to counteract, we’ll get stuck. What was Joshua saying?

  • God, You let us down. These guys will destroy us.
  • We reached too far–we should have settled for less.
  • Our reputation was soaring in the land! Now everyone will hear about this and defeat is our new normal.

We can all understand the frustration. They had a word and a promise. They were acting on what they’d been given. Why wouldn’t God just go ahead and do this “little” thing? It was for His people after all!

Through God’s actions and word, He makes it clear to them and us.

Sin had cut off the camp from God’s favor and victory. He wouldn’t allow them to see another victory until it was dealt with because their reputation as conquerors was not His concern. Israel was called out and raised up to display the greatness of God and He wouldn’t compromise that no matter what anyone (even His enemies) thought.

So the Lord said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?  Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived… Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst…” –Joshua 7:10-12

I believe there are a couple of keys here.

  • God wasn’t overcome with dread or fear because of this sin. He says, “what are you doing down there on your face? Deal with this so we can move on, but if you don’t, I won’t be fighting for you.” He dealt with sin by sending Jesus to die on a cross and shed His own blood. We have been equipped to deal with it.
  • Sin is not just personal, it’s communal. Joshua didn’t sin. The men who went up to fight didn’t sin. One man took things from Jericho that God said not to and it caused massive heartache and setbacks. This is not old covenant/new covenant stuff. We are always seen by God as individuals and in the context of community all the time.  My sin doesn’t just affect me. It affects everyone around me–keeps wreaking havoc and binding up– until it’s dealt with.
  • A defeat never negates God’s previous word. Joshua was concerned that the people of the land would rise up and destroy them. He feared that maybe God’s word was not enough as he struggled to understand the defeat. God didn’t even address this because His word doesn’t change. Once we deal with the problem, we can enter the promise again.

What are your thoughts on this passage? Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve said?



  1. You are right about God’s reputation Jason. Joshua’s reaction is like a lot of us. While we think of “now” and “us”, God is thinking of the “future” and “Me.” If He has allowed Achan’s sin to go untouched that would have set a bad precedent and would have damaged His reputation for holiness. Excellent thoughts today my friend.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..BirdsMy Profile

    • He won’t compromise His holiness or His love or any of His character. The ultimate best for us is for Him to have His way in all things! Thanks so much, Bill.

  2. Get up, clean up, and try it again. I like the message that was delivered for us all to see. God gave clear direction, and He acted when they put the effort for to follow His direction. We make things too complicated, when really if we just; get up, clean up, and try again we’ll see deliverance.

    • We sometimes think we’re helping God by punishing ourselves. After true repentance and seeking His heart, we can move forward--not 10 years from now, but now! Thanks Philip.

  3. God is never concerned with our reputation. He is only concerned with our hearts. I love how you mentioned that their sin didn’t give God fear or dread. Too often we elevate our sin to a place that is bigger than God -- that one mistake ruins everything God was trying to do. He can use our mistakes and turn them around for His glory.
    Jason Vana recently posted..We are Not Our OwnMy Profile

    • He didn’t cause the failures, but He’s not scared by them. He is grieved by the sin, but He’s not moved from His position of grace. I’m so glad He uses everything and turns it for His glory! Thank you, Jason.

  4. I’m so glad God see’s the bigger picture. I’m also glad He loves us enough to discipline us.
    TC Avey recently posted..Whoever Thinks the Founding Fathers Weren’t Christians, Probably Doesn’t Know This: May 17th, 1776My Profile

    • Yes! I am so thankful for His perspective on all things. His discipline comes so many ways--not pleasant at the moment but if we are taught by it, we’ll have a harvest of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11). Thanks so much, TC.

  5. God’s standards are tough. The straight and narrow is a difficult path, it requires that we be alert and cautious, stumbling is part of the weakness of our flesh.

    The wide path of destruction is easy. The ones who don’t know our Father have an easier time in the physical life… They roll and slide easily down that wide slippery path trying to hide the uneasiness inside their souls.

    One of the things from this scripture and your post is that our sins do have an effect on the people around us. Man that’s huge…
    floyd recently posted..LOOKING AHEADMy Profile

    • I think sometimes the enemy tricks us into thinking that they ‘personal’ stuff that we do doesn’t affect or hurt anyone else, but it’s just not true. God is faithful and loving to show us so that we can turn away from it and receive His forgiveness, but we can’t continue on in our sins and expect no consequences. Friendship with the world is hostility toward God--we can’t participate in that thinking or acting out and thankfully grace is sufficient and enables us to walk in His power and wholeness. Thanks so much, Floyd.

  6. The last couple of days The Lord has lead me to listen to some messages by a local pastor Here in Minneapolis Name Tim Burt and a Pastor in Texas name Dennis Burke and the topic I’ve been studying is leadership. While doing yard work (my least favorite chore) The Lord spoke to me and said Leaders aren’t chosen because of there age, Leaders are chosen because of there character and integrity. Joshua and Caleb where chosen because they had a leader’s mentality
    andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • There will be times we will Question God but it’s his way of training us to be leaders Just like Joshua.
      andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

      • As long as we listen to the answer, I know we’re okay! Thanks again, Andrew.

    • That’s a good insight, Andrew. Character and integrity are what sustain us as leaders. Without it, we’re waded for disaster. Thanks Andrew.


  1. Glynn Young - A Reputation to Uphold, by @br8kthru at Connecting to Impact
  2. Jason Stasyszen - A Reputation to Uphold, today on Connecting to Impact
  3. Glynn Young - RT @thehighcalling A Reputation to Uphold, by @br8kthru at Connecting to Impact
  4. Jason Stasyszen - RT @gyoung9751: RT @thehighcalling A Reputation to Uphold, by @br8kthru at Connecting to Impact <<thank you both!
  5. Phil Stasyszen - A Reputation to Uphold, today on Connecting to Impact
  6. Jason Stasyszen - New Blog Post: A Reputation to Uphold
  7. Phil Stasyszen - “@br8kthru: New Blog Post: A Reputation to Uphold” Go read this
  8. Jason Stasyszen - Come share your thoughts on today's post: A Reputation to Uphold
  9. Jason Stasyszen - RT @philstasyszen: “@br8kthru: New Blog Post: A Reputation to Uphold” Go read this <<thanks Philip :)
  10. Melinda Lancaster - Reading on Connecting to Impact - A Reputation to Uphold

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