When Joshua led Israel into the promised land, they enjoyed a great victory over Jericho, a heavily populated, walled city. The very next town they came to was the small town of Ai. Joshua sent men to view the city and they reported that the city would be easily captured. They recommended that only two or three thousand men go to fight, for the city was very small and would be easily captured. But the city wasn't easily captured. The men of Ai chased Israel away and killed thirty six Israelites. Joshua fell on his face before the Lord, bewailing this defeat. God told Joshua to get up off the ground, for there was sin in the camp.

The reason Israel failed to capture Ai is the same reason many nations, churches, and people fail to be successful in God's sight. Sin on the outside doesn't hinder our success for Christ. It's sin on the inside that causes us to fail.

The failure of the United States is a sin failure. When we examine the history of the U. S., we find that we won W. W. I., and W. W. II. But who won the "Korean Conflict"? Who won the Vietnam War? Does the fact that our nation began to lose wars have anything to do with sin in our nation? Let's notice a few facts.

1. Probation was from 1920-1933. But because of lawlessness, our national leaders decided to tax sin instead of enforcing laws against it. In 1934, probation ended and drinking was declared a "right" when a person reached the "legal age".

2. Divorce began to increase in the 1950's. Almost every family in the United States has divorce in it. Now divorce is accepted because to reject it would involve people declaring that some of their family is wrong, and people just won't do this.

3. Adultery and pornography are still on the increase. Of course, pornographers declare their literature has nothing to do with the increase in rape and other sex crimes.

4. Crimes of all kinds are on the increase. The jails are so full, some states are turning prisoners loose in order to make room for others. Capital punishment has been outlawed in many states but we thank God some states have re-established this God-ordered judgment.

5. This is all bad enough, but our young people are being bombarded with rock music, while their parents listen to vile country music. Drug abuse is on the increase, whether by young people or the sophisticated business man.

6. Television and movies "show it all" while people gaze intently and steadily at the barrage of filth. They pattern their lives after their favorite "Super Star" and day by day ease their way into an eternal burning hell.

7. The failure of churches is a sin failure. At this point, we could point our finger of accusation at other churches, forgetting our own faults. But we must examine ourselves in the light of God's Word. The worse sin any church can commit is leaving their first love. Rev.2:4. (Love for God is our first love, Matt. 22:34-40.)