"Winning Covers Up a Lot of Mistakes." (Joshua 7:11-12)

It had to happen!


The NBA Golden State Warriors, finally lost their first game of the 2015-2016 basketball season. It was an NBA record 24 games in a row. Luke Walton, acting head coach for the Warriors, was introspective. “Winning covers up a lot of mistakes. Our guys, they know how to win. But by doing that, you don’t get that same focus and growth on the little things.”

Everyone loves a winner! A well known television television series, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, began every program with the now-familiar, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat!”

The Bible has many examples of winners, heroes overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. There is young David, a shepherd boy, who, with a sling and small stones, slays Goliath, the champion of the Philistines. There is Gideon who led the armies of Israel against the Midianites and defeated them with an army of 300, that God had whittled down from 30,000.

But the Bible is not silent about mistakes and losses. There is the despair of the prophet Elijah, fresh from God’s victory over the prophets of Baal, but forlorn and depressed as Queen Jezebel seeks to kill him for his actions.

And there is Joshua, the successor of Moses, who led the Israelites into the promised land of Canaan. But it was not always the thrill of victory for Joshua. After the amazing initial victory at Jericho, they suffered a humiliating defeat in Ai. But why? The Israelites were larger in number and stronger than the army of Ai. They had a great leader in Joshua. God gave the reason. One man, Achan, sinned and the rest of the Israelites did not hold him accountable.

Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.
Joshua 7:11-12 (ESV)

The defeat caused Israel to critically examine their spiritual lives and actions. Their earlier victory led to overconfidence and they did not focus on the seemingly “little things”, sins that could destroy their lives. No matter how little we may consider it, sin may grow into a hideous, out of control monster.

Winning is a wonderful feeling but it may cover up mistakes and sins. Always look within yourself and ask God to reveal any hidden sins you may have.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.