4/13 Joshua 7:12

12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.

Israel had followed God's unusual instructions to defeat the great walled city of Jericho, but one individual had secretly taken things the LORD had commanded them to destroy. The next town on their route was Ai. Their spies said it was a small town so they only sent out part of the army to take it. They were defeated and thirty-six Israelites died.

Joshua fell on his face before the LORD and asked why it had happened. He was worried about the other kingdoms hearing about the defeat and being emboldened to attack them. He was also worried about the reputation of the name of the God of Israel. God told him to get up and deal with the sin that caused the defeat. Remember that God told them the only reason they would be victorious was that God was with them. Now God was promising not to be with them unless they obeyed and destroyed the secret plunder.

The LORD's presence and blessing in our lives is associated with obedience. We have His promise to finish His work in us and to never leave us or forsake us (Matthew 28:20), but on our journey through life we face temptations of disobedience. God cannot bless disobedience. It would encourage us down the wrong path and have natural consequences that are destructive to our live, which is why His hand of blessing must be lifted from us. The victories we experience in the past become the good ol' days. Everywhere we turn things seem to get the best of us. Our sin has a negative effect on others. Fortunately for us, God does not require we be executed like the culprit in Joshua's army. Instead He invites us to confess and forsake our sin and begin anew with His presence and blessing (1John 1:9).

Consider: Why would we even consider disobedience when we know it removes us from the path of blessing? The enemy of our soul promises pleasure but delivers destruction.