Joshua decides to conquer Ai. The spies he sends to scout the city inform Joshua that the campaign should not be too complicated and a small force will suffice. However, the ensuing battle ends in terrible loss for the Israelites. Joshua understands that something has provoked God’s rage. God tells him that someone looted the spoils of Jericho, despite being explicitly told not to. God leads Joshua to Achan, the son of Carmi. Achan is arrested and given a chance to confess. He is then stoned to death and his property set on fire. Achan’s sin is a taint on the entire nation. Each individual has a responsibility to the whole community. We are all troubled by negative instincts and thoughts, but we must learn to quell and limit these thoughts—even if they cloud or intrude our minds. It is our responsibility to silence them and focus instead on positive thoughts.
“and they fled before the men of Ai… wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water” (Joshua 7:4-5)
“wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?” (Joshua 7:7)
“Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done” (Joshua 7:20)
Responsibility is knowing that we are the cause of our circumstances; irresponsibility is blaming others for our situation.