“And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city and his land.'” (Joshua 8:1)
When the sin of Achan had been dealt with, God returned His blessing upon the Israelites. They easily defeated Ai. When fellowship with God is broken by sin, restoration of that fellowship can be restored when we repent, confess our sins, claim the forgiveness that is ours in Christ, and renew our walk with God. Jesus Christ alone makes these things possible.
The story of Ai is a reminder of the serious consequences that sin brings upon us. But it is also a reminder of the grace and mercy of God. God restored His blessings upon the people when they dealt with the sin of Achan.
We must never underestimate the grievous nature of every sin we commit. We must see our sins in light of God’s burning holiness. Like David, we must plead for God’s mercy — “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1,2). We must acknowledge the seriousness of our sins before God and seek His love and forgiveness. We must ask Him to cleanse us — “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). We must believe in Jesus and His work on our behalf — “But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with HIs stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
When we confess our sins, repent and embrace Christ, God forgives us and He restores His blessing upon us. God wants us to be broken over our sins — “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
The good news of the gospel is: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). However, never forget what it cost God to grant forgiveness to us — the death of His Son.
Lord God, I pray what David prayed to You — “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” I know this is possible only through the blood of Your Son Jesus Christ. I confess my sins before You and know that You are faithful and just to forgive me and to cleanse me.
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