It’s all about obedience I just finished rereading the book of Joshua, and I continue to be amazed at the difference between God’s instructions to Joshua before and after the conquest of Jericho. When about to conquer Jericho the Lord said, “Keep away from the devoted things… all the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into His treasury” (6:18-19). And what happened?

Achan took some of the plunder and as a result 36 men lost their lives unnecessarily and his entire family were killed. “Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks which remains to this day” (7:26), the biblical scribe reports. But now watch this: with that heap of rocks still somewhere close in sight, the Lord tells Joshua, “I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land…. Except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves” (8:2).

Had I been Joshua, I think I would have wanted to say, “Really Lord? We just killed a man who did that.” But Joshua must have learned a lesson from Moses. Remember when Israel was in the desert without water and God told Moses, “Strike the rock and water will come out of it for the people to drink” (Exodus 17:6)? Remember also that at a later time when the nation was in need of water, God told Moses, “Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water” (Numbers 20:8). And what did Moses do? He “struck the rock twice with his staff” (v. 11), and even though “water gushed out,” Moses was never allowed to enter the Promised Land.

Why? He disobeyed God’s instructions. The first time he was told to strike the rock. The next time he was instructed to speak to the rock. It’s all about obedience. Lord, give us open ears to hear from You and open hearts to obey You. We pray in the powerful Name of Jesus.