“And they fled before the men of Ai … and the hearts of the people melted and became as water” (v4-5). Right after the Jericho victory, the Israelites soldiers fled in fear from the army of Ai. God told Joshua that “the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies” (v12) because they were harboring sin in their hearts. One of the men had stolen treasures from Jericho, even though they were forbidden. This hidden sin had weakened the community and caused them to flee before their enemies.
“Truly, I have sinned against the Lord God” (v20). Courage for daily life comes from having a clean heart before the Lord; when we confess, He is faithful to forgive and cleanse us.