In our study of Joshua chapter seven, we look at the fact that the Christian life involves dealing with the troubles caused by the flesh. As we saw in chapter 6, we are now talking about people that have entered the promised land and have a new life with God. That is a picture of the Christian walk in this world. Now, we will see that this is a difficult walk as the battle becomes one of facing the enemy within.
"But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord's anger burned against Israel." NIV translation
When Israel defeated Jericho, the Lord told them that they were not to take any spoils from the battlefield. Here, we see that one man did not obey but the entire nation was held responsible. This is a picture of the fact that our walk, as Christians, reflects on the body of Christ as well as on Jesus.
"Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, 'Go up and spy out the region.' So the men went up and spied out Ai. When they returned to Joshua, they said, 'Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.'" NIV translation
Joshua sent men on ahead to check out the next battle site which was Ai. The spies returned and reported that it would not even really be a fight as only a part of the army of Israel would be needed for the victory. It is important to note that, at this point, nobody knew what Achan had done.
This is a reminder to us, as Christians, that we need to be careful about who we choose to join in this walk of ours. This is what Paul was speaking about when he told the believers to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
Achan did not believe God and so he took some of the forbidden things. The rest of the people did not know so they continued to allow him to be a part of them. They were yoked together and so were accountable for the other's actions.