Don't hide the things that belong to God.
2 Joshua sent some of his men from Jericho to spy out the town of Ai, east of Bethel, near Beth-aven. 3 When they returned, they told Joshua, "There's no need for all of us to go up there; it won't take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don't make all our people struggle to go up there." 4 So approximately 3,000 warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated. The men of Ai 5 chased the Israelites from the town gate as far as the quarries, and they killed about thirty-six who were retreating down the slope. The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events, and their courage melted away.
6 Joshua and the elders of Israel tore their clothing in dismay, threw dust on their heads, and bowed face down to the ground before the Ark of the LORD until evening. 7 Then Joshua cried out, "Oh, Sovereign LORD, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side! 8 Lord, what can I say now that Israel has fled from its enemies? 9 For when the Canaanites and all the other people living in the land hear about it, they will surround us and wipe our name off the face of the earth. And then what will happen to the honor of your great name?"
10 But the LORD said to Joshua, "Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned and broken My covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for Me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. 12 That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction. 13 "Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the LORD. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.
Everybody likes stuff, we go to the store with the notion that we "need" something , all over the store there are temptations to get something else. This guy named Achan liked bling, he was supposed to be destroying everything in Jericho except the silver and the gold which was supposed to be given to the Lord, as he is busy doing the Lord's work he gets distracted.
Joshua 7:21 Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound. I wanted them so much that I took them."
Check out that sweet robe, can you see how good that is going to look on me? Achan was just one step from stupid and all of a sudden this military operation has turned into a trip to the mall. Achan wanted the things that God wanted, the very things that were supposed to be set apart for the Lord, God has been so good to this guy, he just moved his tent from the wilderness and now he is setting up camp in a land "flowing with Milk and honey."
Malachi 3:8 "Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated Me! "But you ask, 'What do You mean? When did we ever cheat You?' "You have cheated Me of the tithes and offerings due to Me.
Everybody is afraid of Israel (Joshua 5:1) except the people in Ai, these people were pumped up with courage and strength from the Lord because instead of Israel judging the nations of the Promised Land now it is Israel that is being judged. Back in Joshua chapter one God told Joshua to "Be strong and courageous" and now Joshua is on his face before the Lord wanted to know what happened. It's not hard to figure out Joshua!
It makes me wonder how much we hold back from God, how much of our everyday life is fully turned over to God, how much are we holding back and trying to hide from him? All of the blessings that he has given to me, all the riches, the talents, the stuff and most importantly all of the time that he has given to me, how much of it is "things set apart for the LORD."
I need to be open to spending my time and my treasure in a way that will please God, the Lord says that some of these things are "things set apart for the LORD" and they need to be offered back to him. I need to be willing to give my money to those in need, I need to spend my time in ways that will benefit the kingdom.
Lord help me to realize that my resources all came from you and that you want me to give back to you the "things set apart for the LORD" I need to give to those that need money and I need to give my time, I need to spend it doing something for somebody else. Help me to always give to you the "things set apart for the LORD."