Joshua 7 NLT
God’s ideal for Israel was to move from victory to victory as they conquered their Promise Land. By God’s supernatural intervention, they had defeated Jericho.
Their next challenge was Ai. According to preliminary reports, this would be an easy victory. But to their utter surprise and because of their presumption, little Ai ran them down and killed 36 of their men. Suddenly, Israel became paralyzed with fear and their courage melted like water. Verses 2-5
Joshua and the elders fell on their faces as they searched their hearts and questioned the Lord, “Why?”
Twice the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up!” In the first place, the nation destined to victory had lusted after treasure that belonged to the Lord. Even worse, they had lied to others and themselves about the seriousness of their disobedience to God.
Secondly, God said “Get up” and “sanctify” or purify yourselves in preparation for tomorrow. He further said, “you cannot stand before your future enemies if you do not remove the hidden” vestiges of Jericho. Verses 6-13
What could have happened if the perpetrator had stepped forward and pleaded for mercy at the outset? Human nature avoids self-incrimination. But sooner or later, shortcomings will be exposed. Present accountability prevents future defeat. Come to light, before the Light comes for you!
Tribe by tribe, clan by clan, family by family until one man was singled out. Achan!
His secret sin that caused a nation to be defeated and cost 36 men their lives, now stood before, not others, but really the ultimate Judge. Verses 14-18
When we read this story, it makes us thankful for direct access to receive personal forgiveness through our High Priest Jesus Christ! Joshua must have grieved as he said, “My son.” To his credit, Achan owned up to his sin without blaming anyone else.
He stated honestly, “I saw the beautiful Babylonian robe, the silver and the gold and I lusted after it. My lust overcame me and I stole it and hid it. I have sinned!”
I wish we could revise this piece of history to make it fit our contemporary dispositions, but there it is! Even after his confession, Achan and his family paid the ultimate price by being stoned to death. Then, they, along with everything they possessed, were burned completely in the Valley of Achor or Trouble!
An historical marker was placed there to remind Israel (and us) of that tragic event and more importantly, the following lessons:
· Personal morals have national implications
· Intimate fellowship with God is broken by secret sins
· Potential victory is replaced with defeat Verses 24-26
The Redemptive Coda
Numerous Proverbs remind us to embrace the admonitions of the Lord. If we would know wisdom, we would learn from the painful example of others. These Old Testament stories were written for our examples.
Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
1 Corinthians 10:6,11
After the bitter, Comes the sweet…
Isaiah 65:11 Sharon shall be a fold of flocks and the Valley of (Trouble) a place for herds to lie down for My people who have sought Me.
Hosea 2:15 And the Valley of (Trouble) as a door of hope; She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
Many take January as a special time for fasting, prayer and meditation; a time to focus upon God’s Word, presence and purpose for our lives; a time to recalibrate and take inventory. What needs to stay and what needs to go?
DFM joins others in contemplating the hidden things that promote or prevent sustainable victory. This invitation is a call to a deeper walk with God. We invite you to go deeper with us in 2019. Turning outward, going forward and reaching upward is preceded by turning inward for seasons of soul keeping.
I submit that the primary reason for repeated relapses, defeat and even premature death by overdose is that we never get down to the hidden, secret things that must be exposed to the light and confessed before Trouble comes. There will always be an Ai after our miraculous Jericho!
For those who have followed and supported Discovery Family Ministries through the years, Thank You for your prayers and financial help as we go forward in the mission assigned to us.
Finally, let me recommend John Ortberg’s book, Soul Keeping, Caring for The Most Important Part of You for more insight in this area.
A Blessed 2019 to all of you!!