“Then he brought his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.””
Joshua 7:18-21 NKJV
Imagine following the move of God and entering the promised land, having witnessed the glory of the Lord, and being full of expectations, buoyed by God’s promises. Imagine going into the next battle expecting great victory after destroying Jericho, only to fall to defeat. The children of Israel went against the Amorites, and were routed. Joshua fell on his face before the Lord, asking why.
There was sin in the camp.
“Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.”
Joshua 7:11 NKJV
I find that I spend a lot of time reading through the Old Testament, as there is so much there to apply to my New Testament life. I find great spiritual truths in the ancient text, which is as timely as the morning news. As I read this morning in Joshua chapter 7, I was reminded of all the times that sin in my own life has brought defeat as I have sought to do war with he evil one.
All too often, there is a secret sin or area of disobedience that has caused me to stumble. I have found myself drawn to the usual tricks of the devil as I have given in, thinking: “what harm would it do?”
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
I John 2:16 NKJV
Satan is a one trick pony, using his one weapon with great efficiency. Achan fell for it, as he saw the beautiful Babylonian garment. What a picture of future bondage due to following after other Gods. There silver which brought the promises of riches. Achan was willing to take the things that were to be set apart for the Lord as his own for his profit.
In that moment, the work of the Lord was undermined by the sin of Achan. In these modern times, many an individual effort has been undermined by sin, and that sin has been extrapolated onto the body of believers, undermining the church.
History is full of churches that have become diminished in their effectiveness in spreading the Gospel, as sin has undermined the foundation.
Typically it starts small: individual believers harboring a sinful attitude, or a habit that is held in the dark recesses of the heart. It festers and grows, and inhibits the willingness to pray, the willingness to open the Scriptures, and the willingeness to confess sins. Most notably, it stops one from going out and sharing the Gospel.
That sin in one, spreads, as people see that it is unchecked. Joshua’s dealing with it is a guide to those in leadership who become aware of gross sin in the church.
Though we certainly are not going to stone families outside the church for the sins of the father (mother), it is a reminder that there needs to be some kind of church discipline. Individual sin becomes collective sin, and undermines the mission of the church.
Unconfessed sin undermines life. I have so many memories of seasons in my life when I have sought to hide my sin from God, and not confess it. Whenever I tried to talk about Jesus and the great Salvation, I felt an emptiness, hypocrisy. The unconfessed sin was like a drag on my testimony. It also made my life bereft of peace.
“When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah”
Psalms 32:3-4 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, it is time to come clean, to address the Achan’s in all of us. Let us not undermine the spreading of the Gospel message at a time when it is most needed. This pandemic has pushed so many people to the breaking point, and many hearts are open to the Good News.
Jesus has already given us the ultimate victory! Our job is to free the prisoners and reduce the collaterol damage.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!