They took from the things dedicated for destruction. They have stolen, acted deceitfully, and put them among their own possessions. Therefore the children of Israel cannot stand before their enemies.
— Joshua 7:11-12
Israel’s defeat at Ai in Joshua 7 reminds us that one of the reasons the army of God is oft defeated and does not make the progress it should is because of sin within. In this case it was Achan who, having gone into the city of Jericho to help destroy it, saw there a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a gold bar. He wrapped them up and put them under his robe and hastened back to his tent. He buried them in the earth in the center of the tent and no doubt put a carpet over it, cleaned it all up nicely, and nobody was the wiser. He had committed the perfect crime—except that the all-seeing God knew it was there.
Unhappily, the 3,000 men who made their way up the hill toward Ai did not know what Achan had done and suffered defeat as a consequence.
Why does the Church not make the progress it ought to be making? Could it be because of sin in the camp? Maybe you subscribe to it on television, or maybe it’s a magazine that comes every month into your home. It is that which He has forbidden and lies buried right in the center of your tent. God knows all about it and so the people of God are defeated.