Will America pass the test? Those of you who are Bible scholars know that God does not tempt us but he does test or prove us.

From our beginnings as a country, most of us have said that we are a God-loving country. Our money is marked with “In God We Trust.” We are now realizing that that gesture was meaningless. We might have been actually saying that our trust was in the money.

God has said that if we are a God-fearing country that trusts him, there are particular things that we must do. We must follow his instructions, but someone has pillaged, plundered, stolen from the disadvantaged, oppressed, and abused. Rather than say that this is Satan working, I much rather say that this is God allowing COVID-19 to capture our attention like nothing else could. The tornadoes did not do it. The floods did not do it. The five hurricanes did not do it. The fires that burned millions of acres did not do it.

Until we find the Achan among us, we will continue to lose battle after battle. Until we humble ourselves, seek his face, pray, turn from our sin and confess as a nation; our troubles will continue. We must call out the Achan inside of us.

Joshua questioned God and said “You told me that we would win every battle, but today my troops came running back from the battle like cowards. Why have you gone back on your word to me?”

God answered and said, “There is someone in your army who has violated my commands. I told you exactly what to do. You were instructed not to steal from the enemy for personal gain.”

Joshua was instructed to go back to his troops and call them out tribe by tribe, family by family, and man by man. Joshua returned and called his army in the manner that God told him to do. When he reached Achan and asked the question, Achan readily admitted that he was the one who had stolen items from the enemy and hid the items in his tent. When Joshua sent the men to check the tent, they found all the stolen goods. (Joshua 7)

How does this relate to America? How does it relate to our state? How does it relate to our community? There is an Achan in our midst.

Be reminded that Achan can be a devastating mindset. Achan can be a controlling arrogant attitude. Achan can be an “I am better than you” attitude. There are a lot of little baby Achans running loose but the mature one is the most dangerous one to call out for the livelihood of the union. This is not an individual that we must call out, but an evil force driving a corrupt ungodly movement.

The question is, ”Who among us is going to represent Joshua?” We do know that it has to be someone with moral standards, a level of integrity and have the fear of the Lord.

It saddens me to admit that the political leadership as a whole does not appear to have the backbone of integrity, honor and wisdom necessary. Our Joshua has to be in the church. Our Joshua may be out in the field feeding the sheep or behind the mountain tending his father-in-law’s flock.

Our Joshua must have the courage and the moral capacity to do what God has instructed His children to do. For us to come out from under this dilemma revealed by COVID-19, the church must step up and accept the responsibility.

No matter how many times we blame absent fathers, this problem is knocking at the front door of the church. No matter how much we say that the school must teach morals, this problem is walking up the steps of the church. No matter how much we may turn things over to the social services, this is going to fall in the lap of the church.

What a great place to look for answers, and if the church does not have the courage to speak up and step out, the sail on our boat is tattered, torn and useless. The test is will the church have the courage to call out — tribe by tribe, family by family, man by man — to find out who has violated God’s rule? Will the church have the wisdom to accept the facts when faced with Truth? Does the church have the moral consciousness to speak truth no matter who is listening?

This sheltering in place time is our “time out.” We gave children time out for them to think about the error of their ways. What are we doing with our time out?

In order to identify our Achan, we do not have to look very far. If the answer were hidden before in some obscure corner, it is staring us in the face and standing directly in front of us today. COVID-19 has helped us to see ourselves as we are naked and should be ashamed but are not.

This virus has pulled the cover off the fact that the richest country on the planet has a segment of the population that is underserved and neglected and not understood and is treated on the level of many Third World countries.

Can we look to the church to be our Joshua for such a time as this?

Willie Mae Samuel is a playwright and a director in Rome. She is the founder and director of the African American Connection of the Performing Arts Inc. and a 2020 Heart of the Community Award of Honor recipient.

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