God frees His people from slavery in Egypt and leads them through the Red Sea on dry land. He protects and guides them through the wilderness. He walks them through the flooded Jordan River on dry ground. He causes the walls of Jericho to collapse. His requirement concerning Jericho is that everything in the city is placed under the ban. This means that the people are not to take anything for themselves. All articles of gold, silver, bronze and iron are to be placed in the treasury of the tabernacle.
The Israelites move on to the small town of Ai. A relatively small army is sent to deal with this little village. The people of Ai kill 36 Israelite solders and send the enemy fleeing.
Joshua is distraught and asks God why they have made it all the way to the Promised Land just to be destroyed by the inhabitants of that land.
“Rise up!” God says to the leader in Joshua 7:10-13. “Why is it that you have fallen on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst. Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the Lord, the God of Israel, has said, “There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.”’” (NASB)
A man named Achan decides to keep a valuable garment plus some gold and silver. Somewhere along the line he must be thinking that what he does is his business and it does not affect anyone else. It doesn’t matter if he does what he wants to do.
What thought process do we go through when we decide what to wear? It is my business? Everyone else is wearing this? It doesn’t hurt anything? It doesn’t matter?
Achan’s decision impacts the entire nation. As representatives of Christ, our choices go far beyond the confines of our own private worlds. We are to reflect Christ in all areas, including the way we dress.
“Flee immorality,” Paul instructs in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. “Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
Christians are different from those in the world. We are to act differently. We are to talk differently. We are to dress differently. We understand that our beauty does not depend on external appearances.
“Strength and dignity are her clothing,” Proverbs 31:25 says of the virtuous woman, “strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.”
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,” verse 30 adds, “but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”