As Paul concludes his second letter to the Thessalonians he tells them, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (3:5). It is evident that the Lord cannot direct this unless our hearts are already looking toward our Saviour. Paul told the Hebrews they need to be “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), and the Greek word for “looking” refers to looking in a fixed direction.

We read today in Joshua of the judgements of God that affected the whole nation because one man coveted some of the spoil of Jericho when it was destroyed. It is evident it was a deliberate calculated act because when Achan is identified, under the direction of God, he admits he took them, including silver and gold and “they are hidden in the earth inside my tent” (7:21).

The words Joshua addressed to Achan are significant, “My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me what you have done” (verse 21). Honest confession to God gives Him a form of glory because it acknowledges the total supremacy of an all knowing Creator. But Achan’s sin was a calculated deception and “all Israel stoned him with stones” (verse 25). Our thoughts turn to the words of Paul in Hebrews that “if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of Judgment …” (12:26).

Thankfully with all our weaknesses and failures, the grace of our Lord is readily extended to us, but let us never forget the lesson of Achan. He should have felt humility when he saw the walls of Jericho fall without any human effort. What of us, when God destroys the walls of the remarkable civilisation human beings have created in this modern world?

Finally, the inspiring words of Isaiah 11 give us a wonderful vision of the future God has planned for our world and for those faithful to Him and His Son. In reading them we should be spiritually motivated to reflect that we really are his spiritual sons and daughters looking forward to the time when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (verse 9). Is your motivation strong? Are you seeking for “the Lord to direct your heart”? Remember what He is directing it toward – read again the opening quote from Paul’s letter.