The Enemy Within

John Koedyker

READ : Joshua 7:1-26

But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan . . . took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. (v. 1 NIV)

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We like to blame others for our problems, but often the enemy is within. As the cartoon character Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us!”

It was certainly that way for Israel at Ai. Israel had triumphed over Jericho and was poised to conquer the next opponent on the list – the little town of Ai. It was a much weaker place, and Joshua wasn’t worried. Just a few soldiers would do for this battle. But they lost, and lost badly! Joshua was beside himself. How could this be happening?

God explained to him that someone had disobeyed his command and stolen some of the devoted things from Jericho. The result was that all of Israel had to suffer because of the sin of one man, Achan.

Where does evil come from? Alexander Solzenitzen once said, “The line between good and evil does not pass between nations and cultures and groups and races, but right through the middle of every human heart.” The counsel of Proverbs says, “Guard your heart” (4:23). When one member sins, the whole body can suffer.


Father, please help me to be on guard against the enemy within. Amen.