Sunday, March 08, 2015

A man named Achan

Reading: Joshua 7:1-26

In the records of God’s people under the leadership of Field Marshal Joshua, God did mighty things and the people of Israel had great conquests. One day, the most unusual thing happened: not just opposition or resistance, but defeat from unexpected quarters. 

In Joshua 6, Jericho has just been conquered, a great victory for God and His people that day. BUT as Jericho was being conquered, an undisciplined soldier, a man named Achan,  was busy falling to his covetousness and taking forbidden spoil. And because of this, God turned His back on the people. This is documented in Joshua 7:1-5: 

Verse 1 – The sin of disobedience of Achan yet unknown
Verses 2 & 3 – Reconnaissance team sent and their report
Verse 4 – Joshua acted on the their report
Verses 4-5 – The greatest surprise – defeat why?

Was it not through the prayer of Joshua that God had done great things in the past? Was it not through his prayer that God made the sun and the moon to stand still? Why this defeat? Look at verse one again. The Lord’s command to Israel not to take from Jericho anything that was to be destroyed was not obeyed or as the King James Version put it “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing!” "But it was not all the people of Israel, it was only Achan",  one is tempted to say. But can a chain be stronger than its weakest link? Never! One bad apple makes the whole bunch stink.

A chain is as strong as its weakest link. One bad apple makes the whole bunch stink. [Tweet]

Achan’s covetousness resulted in Israel’s defeat. Lust had been conceived and it gave birth to sin. Sin renders prayer unacceptable before God. Habakkuk 1:13 reads “But How can you stand these treacherous, evil men? O Lord, your eyes are too holy to look at evil, and you cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong.” That must therefore be the reason why in Joshua 7:12 God said to Joshua and his people: “I will not be with you any longer unless you destroy the thing you were ordered not to take” 

When the accursed thing was removed and chastisement exercised – triumph followed quickly. The valley of Achan became the door of hope, the locust-eaten years were restored. Confession and forgiveness quicken dormant energies and liberate power in the service of the Lord.

God will have us to be disciplined, fruitful servants and so has made all things that would enhance this end available to us. Let us first take a quick look at them in Ephesians 6:10-18.  As a disciple of the Most High, we are in battle, we are not provided with an armour for fun.

i.   Our loins should be girded about with truth ... Jesus is the Truth
ii.  Breastplate of righteousness ... we are covered in Christ’s righteousness
iii. Shoes the preparation of the Gospel of peace, Christ is our peace.
iv. The shield of faith ... Jesus is the author and Finisher of our faith
v.   The helmet of Salvation ... with His blood we are saved.
vi.  Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God ... Christ is the Word which has been with God from the beginning. In Revelation 19:13 we read: “His name is called “The Word of God”

What Paul wrote to the Ephesians in eight verses, he wrote to the Romans in eight words. In Romans 13:14 we read: “But you put on the Lord Jesus Christ” Here therefore is the outfit of a disciplined soldier of the Cross – Jesus Christ Himself. Let us do a little inward looking. Are you a disciplined soldier? Am I?

God does not force people into His army. He says whoever wills may come. Whoever comes, He will receive. Some of us here may not have come. Will you come today? Be a Christian soldier today and God will start purging, cleansing and preparing you for glory. Perhaps you have come, but are yet undisciplined, God is still willing to cleanse you and discipline you.

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