Joshua 7:7—10, 19, “And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast Thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto Thy great name? And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? … And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.”
Verse 10 is the one place in Scriptures where I have found God telling someone to quit praying. There are many things about which we should pray. Likewise, there are some things about which we do not need to pray, except for God’s help to overcome. I do not need to pray about rooting out sin in my life. I just need to, by God’s power, do it.
Some people will feel annoyed with God that He wants to publicly emphasize the horror of sin. Church discipline is a process that seeks God’s glory and that person’s restoration and reconciliation; not personal revenge (Matt. 18:15-20; Gal. 6:1). Most of the time this discipline, if Biblically followed, will be kept out of the public eye, but that is not always the case. When sins must be made public, it must be done in the right spirit with the right goals in mind (1 Tim. 5:20; 2 Thess. 3:14-15). We cannot be afraid to confront and rebuke sin in the church, but that confrontation and rebuke must start with ourselves.
Confession of sin glorifies our sinless God (v. 19). Achan described how he succumbed to temptation. He saw, coveted, and took what he should not have (c.f. James 1:14-15; 1 John 2:16). This is exactly what we see when Eve took the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:6) and when David took that which was forbidden to him (2 Sam. 11:2-4). That is how sin works. How do we overcome? Live honestly and transparently. Be honest with yourself and with God, and do not be a person of secrets. Would you be willing for your spouse to look through your Internet visits? Are you hiding something, not because you are a private person, but because you are involved in secret sin?
Our desire should be to live in such a way, by God’s grace and power, that if everything about us were known, we might be a little embarrassed but we would not be ashamed. There is a difference between the two.