Some of the stories in Scripture bring us great joy as we enter into the triumphs and delights of those whose lives have cause to celebrate. On other occasions, we are gripped by the agony of accounts where some go through times of tragedy, especially a self-inflicted tragedy. This story falls into the latter category. Two things make it especially sad. First, it occurs so suddenly on the heels of an incredible victory—the miraculous invasion of Jericho. Second, it results in such a devastating toll on so many others. One man—a single, isolated individual—deliberately chose to disobey, yet numerous innocent victims fell in the wake of his sin, bringing calamity to a nation. As James later wrote: “See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!” (3:5).
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