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The DEEP

Belief

is not simply black and white.

Joshua 7:6–11

Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord GOD, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?”

So the LORD said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.

Joshua understands what this means. Something is deeply wrong and everything is in jeopardy. He knows this has nothing to do with the strength of his army. It’s all about God.

So, he prostrates himself before the ark and asks what in tarnation is going on.

Joshua doesn’t have to wait long for an answer. The covenant has been broken and this defeat is the result. Some of the accursed things have been stolen. Instead of devoting them to destruction, or putting them in the treasury, they have put it among their own stuff.

The reader may be wondering, “What were they thinking?” This incident is one of the best examples of sin in action. It doesn’t make sense.

Everyone involved in this grew up eating manna. They all crossed the Jordan on dry ground. They’ve seen so many miracles they’ve gotten used to them.

So when the LORD says that everything in Jericho must be devoted to destruction, you might expect them to just do it. No one could be stupid-crazy enough to disobey such a simple command from their benefactor, right?

Well, no. There apparently are some who think they can skim a little off the top and no one will notice.

But someone did notice—the all-powerful Someone.


Belief is not simply black and white. Certainty is different from just thinking that something is true.

And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel.” — Acts 12:11a

Faith grows over time, in both range and depth. What one believes, and how strongly one believes those things, even moves up and down. This is normal and should not scare us. Uncertainty should be treated like uncertainty. It should inspire us to dig deeper and search to understand more.

Unfortunately, in this case, some idiot has “bet the farm” on one piece of the faith being false.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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