Student Writers Month: Joshua 7:1
1 But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.

Student Writers Month:
This month, The Park Forum welcomes college and seminary student writers pursuing ministry careers. For more info about our yearly Student Writer program, see our website.

Reflection: Abundance from Obedience

By Jilian Brown

Collective consequences for the action of one individual is not a popular idea in a time heavily focused on individual rights and justice. Though we may dislike this notion, the reality of it is evidenced all around us. When an athlete incurs a penalty, the team suffers. When a leader acts unethically, the organization suffers. When a spouse strays, the family suffers. In the case of the Israelites and Achan, the disobedience of one man cost the nation a battle and thirty-six lives in the process. 

Because collective consequences are a reality, our focus should be on collective obedience. Following God is a group effort. We are in a covenant with God as a people, not just individuals. It is the responsibility of the body of Christ to look out for one another. Even when the ways of the Lord seem clear to us, we must continue to speak them to those around us. Anyone can quickly slip from the truth of God’s ways without a regular reminder of them.

Obedience is also not a popular topic in our age of individualism. The root of disobedience is a scarcity mentality about God. Achan did not trust God for provision, but rather chose the immediate security in front of his eyes. In doing so, he and his family became like the people of the land. Rahab, by contrast, trusted God as a foreigner and her entire family became part of the Israelite community by way of her faith (Joshua 6.25). The important concept to reiterate to ourselves and others is that obedience brings about an abundant life, not a mediocre one. Obedience may feel restrictive in the moment, but ultimately brings about freedom and joy.How do we consistently trust and obey? David asked God to regularly scan his thoughts to keep him holy (Psalm 139.23-24). Like a daily CT scan of our souls, we must allow the Spirit’s search to take place and encourage others to do the same. When misplaced trust is revealed, immediate confession and repentance roots out the possibility of further sin and consequences for us and others. Achan’s individual lack of trust in God led to actions which held consequences for the whole community. In a glorious inverse, Jesus the individual took the consequences for all of our sin on the cross and that is worthy of our collective daily trust and obedience (Romans 5.12-17). 

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
“Because the needy are oppressed, and the poor cry out in misery, I will rise up,” says the Lord, “And give them the help they long for.” — Psalm 12.5

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Joshua 7 (Listen – 4:58)
Psalm 137-138 (Listen – 2:13)

Read More about Readers’ Choice 2021
It is time to hear from you about the posts from the past eleven months (September 2020 – July 2021) that have challenged, comforted, and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Read more about Separateness Not Superiority
Obeying the command to “be holy” is what makes us able to be a light to the world. No holiness, no light.