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The Woes of Achan
Our Scripture opens with the following statement: "But the Children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing." The fact is as we all know that the trespass was committed by one man, Achan, the son of Carmi. However, even as a false brick in a building mars the beauty of the whole building; thus the sin of one affects a whole people.
The Children of Israel sinned because Achan was one of their number, and no man sinneth unto himself. The leper of old contaminated everything he touched. The sin of a father and husband brings shame and disgrace upon the children and wife.
Let us look at sin for a little while:
1. Sin is always disrupting. Sin tears down, destroys, wrecks, and ruins. Everything that sin touches feels a blight. There is nothing that casts a deeper shadow than does sin. The form of sin is as a hideous specter, seeking to scatter the seeds of disease and death.
2. Sin in its first beginnings. The Children of Israel had but just come over the Jordan. They were now entering into a new sphere of life, as they went into the promised land. It was at that time that Achan sinned.
We think that the severity of God's judgment against Achan was, in part, a warning to Israel in their new life lest they should continue in sin.
It was so in the Church. When the first great sin was committed by Ananias and Sapphira in the matter of holding back a part of the price of the land, God slew them both, that the Church might know the seriousness of sin.
3. Saints suffer for sin, as much as the wicked suffer. Think you that, because we are children of God, we may therefore sin without fear of punishment? Shall we sin because we are under grace? Nay, "for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth."
In this life Christians who sin will be punished by a loving Saviour. At the bema judgment saints also may suffer. Is it not written: "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." The next verse adds, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."
Mark you, we are not teaching that saints are lost when they sin. We are teaching that God could not be just, unless He chastens those who sin.
We know that Christ died for sin, that He took our stripes. We also know that Christians who have been saved, and stand before God clothed in the righteousness of Christ are freely forgiven when, having sinned, they confess their sins. All of this, however, does not lessen the fact that a believer, living in unconfessed sin, must suffer.
The whole Bible is filled with the story of how God punishes saints.
I. ATTEMPTING TO CONQUER WHILE SIN IS IN THE CAMP (Joshua 7:2 )
The Children of. Israel had gone forth to conquer the village of Ai, which was on the east side of Bethel. They had gone expecting an easy conquest, for the people at Ai, compared to Jericho, were but few.
There was one thing, however, they had neglected to do. Before they crossed the Jordan and marched around Jericho, they had sanctified themselves (Joshua 3:5 ). Now they were attempting to take Ai with sin hidden in their midst.
Alas, there are many churches today who are undertaking for God while they, also, are sheltering grievous sins. Think you, that there are not some things which should be first, before any conquest is attempted?
1. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God." Here is a first thing that is vital to everything relative to our temporal needs. If we expect God to feed us and to clothe us, we are told to seek first His Kingdom, then says the Spirit: "All these things shall be added unto you."
2. First be reconciled to thy brother. God tells us if we are bringing our gift to the altar, and we remember that our brother hath ought against us, we are to leave there our gift and to go our way. Then He says: "First be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Think you, that God will receive anything of our hand, until we are first right with each other?
3. First get the beam out of thine own eye. Think you, that a man with a beam in his own eye is prepared to pull out the mote that is in his brother's eye? Certainly not.
Beloved, let us remember that if we want conquest, we must first rid sin from our camp. Have you not read that God can do no mighty works where there is unbelief?
God cannot, and will not bless the unclean. "Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord."
II. SMALL TASKS DEMAND TRUE HEARTS (Joshua 7:3 )
1. Why the big task at Jericho proved successful.
(1) The people sanctified themselves. This was God's definite instruction to them in Joshua 3:5 . "Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." They did sanctify themselves, and the Lord did do wonders. He did wonders because they were sanctified. Have we not read, "Sanctified, and meet for the Master's use."
(2) The people believed God. It is written, "According to your faith be it unto you." The walls of Jericho fell down by faith. Where there is no faith, there certainly will be no victory.
(3) The people obeyed implicitly. They did just what the Lord told them to do. Obedience is an adjunct to faith. That man who does not obey his Lord, cannot have blessings from Him.
2. Wherein the small task at Ai failed.
(1) They sought not the Lord. They depended upon their own strength, and were overconfident. They said to Joshua: "Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai." They not only overestimated their own strength, but they underestimated the people of Ai. Thinking themselves masters, they sought not the aid of the Lord.
(2) They sanctified not themselves. They failed to discover whether there was any sin among them. How many times the Church of God fails the Lord in this very thing.
(3) They had not fully learned that power belongeth unto God. No man of God, no servant of Christ, who goes forth trusting in the arm of flesh can obtain victory. We receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon us. Therefore, let us fight in His imparted strength, and not in our own.
III. THE FAITHFUL FLEE (Joshua 7:4-5 )
1. They went up about three thousand men. We can see them going now. No doubt they went expecting victory, because they had already had victory in the past. Do we ever get to the place in. our Christian experience where we think we can live on past blessings?
There was a wonderful victory at Pentecost when about 3,000 were baptized. Did the disciples imagine that because they had seen such a great and glorious time on that wonderful day, that the next day and the next could be met and conquered without prayer, and without waiting on God? Not so. In chapter 3 of Acts, we read of how, immediately following Pentecost, "Peter and John went up together into the Temple at the hour of prayer."
We thank God for all past achievements, but we must remember that their victories were won through faith and prayer, through sanctification and obedience, through the presence of Christ, and the enduement of power. An automobile running at 60 miles an hour, may continue a good distance from generated speed, even with the motors shut off. A church, however, cannot continue at all on past successes. They must move along every day, under direct contact with power supernatural.
2. They fled. That is the statement of our key verse, "They fled before the men of Ai." It was a pitiful sight. It seems that the moment the men of Ai saw the Children of Israel coming against them, they rushed out to meet them, and God's people turned their backs in fright.
We are always in danger of fleeing, even when no man is pursuing, if we are serving in our own strength, or undertaking apart from the will of God. God has given us an armor by which we must be panoplied if we would meet successfully the enemy. God has given us a plan of battle. This plan must be followed. God has given us His promised presence to go with us. This presence must be realized, in order to conquer.
The Lord help us never to flee from the enemy. May we, the rather, stand and having done all, stand.
IV. JOSHUA'S GREAT GRIEF (Joshua 7:6-7 )
1. We have the broken morale of the people. In Joshua 7:5 we read: "The hearts of the people melted, and became as water." No wonder they couldn't fight. Their morale was gone, their courage had left them. It is written to Christian warriors: "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees."
"God lives, shall we despair
As if He were not there?
Is not our life His care,
Is not His hand Divine?"
2. We have Joshua rending his clothes. When news of the routing of Israel came to their leader, Joshua tore his raiment and fell to the earth upon his face before the Ark of the Lord, until the eventide. He and the others of Israel put dust upon their heads. We do not condemn Joshua for this. It should always be a matter of great sorrow when we see God's children running from the enemy.
If we mistake not there are thousands today among the faithful ministers of the land, whose hearts are crushed because of the church's defeat.
3. We have Joshua's complaining cry. Joshua said: "Alas, O Lord God." We think of Jeremiah the wailing Prophet. It was he who said, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow?" Jeremiah felt that God had sent fire into his bones. He could not refrain from weeping when he saw his people and their city overwhelmed. Beloved, the time has come in the Church of God, when we need to teach our children weeping and wailing. The church is being depleted by the world. How can we do ought, excepting that we cry, "Alas, O Lord"?
We remember what the Apostle Paul said: "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart." This sorrow came to the Apostle because he saw the Children of Israel depleted, cast down, and scattered among the nations. Let us give ourselves to tears.
V. A QUESTIONING LEADER (Joshua 7:7 )
1. Joshua placed the defeat of Ai upon God. He said: "Wherefore hast Thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?" This meant, in plain language, that Joshua charged God with the defeat of His people, that God had set Himself to destroy them.
We need not deal harshly with Joshua, for it is very customary in our day to lay upon God all of our defeats, and to claim as due to our own prowess, our victories. Let some dire disaster overtake us and we will say God did it. Some even cry, "God does not love us, or else He would not do so and so." Beloved, we have had enough of this.
God may chasten us, but if He does, we need to search out the cause, and we will find that some sin lies with us.
2. Joshua misconstrued the purposes of God. He insinuated that God had brought them over the Jordan to deliver them into the hands of the Amorites, and to destroy them. He had brought them over, in order to bless them, not to curse them; to sustain them, not to defeat them.
Shall we impugn God's purposes toward us? A temporary disappointment may beset us by the way, and a transient storm may cross our path, but through it all, and in it all, God is working together for good to those who love Him.
3. Joshua discounted the finality of grace. If we want to know God, we must look beyond the present moment. We must see what Job discovered, that the end of the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
When Jacob heard of Joseph's falsely announced death, he cried out: "All these things are against me." Entirely to the contrary, God was working out His purpose to sustain and to keep alive, not only Jacob, but all of Jacob's sons and grandchildren.
Let us remember that faith must possess a far-flung vision. Many of the patriarchs passed through every kind of tribulation and trouble, yet we read in Hebrews 11:1-40 : "these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off."
VI. A TWOFOLD COMPLAINT (Joshua 7:8-9 )
1. Joshua said: "O Lord, what shall I say?" Joshua put himself in this, before his Lord. He was greatly troubled about Israel's defeat. He felt that if his people had been overwhelmed by so small a group, that they would stand little hope of success before the seven nations which infested the land of Canaan, and whom they must conquer, if they were ever to possess the land.
Beloved, we are in small business if we allow ourselves any place of prominence and recognition, in the service which we seek to render in His Name. Of course, the church's defeat does affect us. It causes the world to have an ever-lessening confidence in the church, and therefore, in our testimony. There is, however, a deeper cause for sorrow than this.
2. Joshua said unto God: "What wilt Thou do unto Thy great Name?" He felt that the inhabitants of the land, hearing of Israel's retreat from Ai, would shortly environ them around and cut off their name from the earth.
Joshua also felt that when Israel had their name cut off, that the Name of Israel's God was likewise in danger. In all of this, Joshua was eminently right.
The Lord plainly told Israel, through Ezekiel, that she through her sins had blasphemed His Name among the nations that she had profaned Him, in the midst of them, because of their unseemly ways.
Thus it is today. Saints are dragging the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ down into the murk and the mire of the swineherd, when they are unfaithful to their Lord. No man ever had a more urgent call, than that which comes to saints to watch their ways, and words, that Christ may be glorified.
We believe that the supreme reason that the old-time revivals are passing, lies in the fact that the old-time separation and spiritual vigor of saints is passing.
VII. A DIVINE COMMAND AND A DIVINE QUERY (Joshua 7:10 )
1. The Divine command: "Get thee up." Joshua was in prayer. He was prostrate before the Lord. He had rent his clothes. He had put dust upon his head. He had spent hours on his face before the Ark of the Covenant. When God viewed His prostrate servant. He said: "Get thee up."
We wonder if there is not a great deal of useless praying going on just now. Churches that are worldly and unclean often have good pastors and spiritual leaders who are undone and crushed because the church is meeting defeat. Few are being saved.
2. The Divine query, "Wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?" In this query, God seemed to say to Joshua, "Dost thou think that I have forsaken Israel? dost thou think that I am about to destroy a people whom I love, and to deliver them to death at the hands of the Canaanites? dost thou impugn My righteousness. My integrity to thee, to Israel, and to My promised oath of thy victory?"
Why art thou lying upon thy face?
There was a time when Israel (Isaiah 51:1-23 ) cried unto God saying: "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old." To this cry God quickly responded: "Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of His fury."
Shall we cry unto God as though He were asleep, simply because we have slept? Shall we ask God to stand up and to stretch out the arm of His strength, so long as we ourselves are prone upon our faces in shame? To Israel, the Spirit said: "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem."
Rev. G. P. Merrick, of Holloway Prison, England, has compiled statistics which show that crime is not very remunerative. For 372 cases of housebreaking, which "gave employment" to 488 men, the average "earnings" were only $63.50. Four hundred and twenty-two pickpockets had to divide the proceeds of 364 successful attempts, the average takings being $22.75. Defrauding pays better. In 309 cases of this sort, each partner received on an average of $731.75. But as there is a long time of inaction between each case, criminals are among the worst "paid" individuals.
Sin, Eternal Loss. Look at the fact, the mathematical certainty, that if you deduct from the experience of a man's holiness for a while, you have deducted something of absolutely measureless value. You have poisoned the possible bliss of that man. The poison lasts. It never will stop its course, will it? "There will be no final pain or permanent loss in the universe! Oh, no!" I affirm that you cannot take out of human history six thousand years, and give them over to your blackest sins, or to your least black, without subtracting from the bliss of the universe; and that this gap is a part of the record of the past; and that you never can fill it up. That gap will exist
"Till the sun is old,
And the stars are cold,
And the leaves of the judgment book unfold."
Sin Will Find You Out
The question of sin is ever paramount in the Word of God. It was sin that made necessary the death of Christ upon the Cross. In spite of this, we would like to discuss with you for a while, the world's attitude toward sin, in contrast with the Divine attitude.
1. Men belittle the heinousness of sin, while God magnifies it.
(1) Men belittle sin inasmuch as they deny its existence. How many there are in these days of revelry and licentiousness, who call the black, white and the evil, good. Satan, so far as a modern world is concerned, is no more going about seeking whom he may destroy, and sin is no more leading men to hell. That is, Satan and sin are not even recognized among the men of this world.
(2) Men belittle sin by excusing it. Even when the world admits the fact of sin, they think of it more as a joke, or an excusable folly. They say that they can easily quit when they want to. They speak of their sins as "a way they have." They will even gather, at times, in cloistered spots, and boast the extent of their evil deeds. One will vie with another, as to the evil they have done.
(3) Men think of sin as a sweet morsel a great satisfaction to their flesh. The dance, the gambling den, the beaches, the houses of shame, are to them no more than the fulfillment of natural promptings. To such people the fruit of sin is to be desired to make one glad.
2. God magnifies the heinousness of sin.
(1) God says that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. When the Lord Jesus spoke of the human heart, He had nothing good to say concerning it. He said:
"For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies."
The Apostle Paul speaks thus by the Holy Ghost: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like."
Thus we should all say of the natural man, "In me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing."
(2) God says that the wages of. sin is death. This is directly against man's conception. Man thinks that sin should be overlooked, excused. God thicks that sin should be punished. Man says, "There is no hell." God says: "The wicked shall be turned into hell." Man says: "I may sin, and live forever in the happy hunting grounds of Heaven." God says: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." He says again: "Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." Once more He says: "The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night."
3. As a result of this comparison as set forth in 1 and 2, let us consider, for a moment, what sin really is. There are five things said in the Word of God relative to this matter:
(1) Sin is the transgression of the Law. That is, sin is going contrary to what God commands. Its heart is that of rebellion, casting off God, and defying His Laws.
(2) Sin is knowing to do good and doing it not. Sin is not only, therefore, breaking the Commandments which say, "Thou shalt not"; but it is the disobedience to the Commandments which say, "Thou shalt."
(3) Sin is all unrighteousness. Everything in the heart that is unclean is sin. The Book of Romans in chapter 1, describes the sinner as one who is "filled with all unrighteousness." Then follows a most terrific exposure of the villainy of the human heart.
(4) Sin is everything that falls short of the glory of God. To the extent that man is not Godlike, he is sinful. In other words, God is the very consummation of all good, of all light, of all life. Man is a sinner to the extent that he falls short of these, and of every other attribute of God.
I. GOD CANNOT OVERLOOK SIN (Joshua 7:11 )
Our study opens with Joshua 7:11 , and Joshua 7:11 opens with the words: "Israel hath sinned."
1. Wherein Israel's sin is manifested. There are three things our verse sets forth:
(1) "Israel hath * * transgressed My Covenant which I commanded them." Sin is indeed the transgression of the Law. God's Commandments are not given to be memorized. They are given to be obeyed. Read what Christ said (John 14:21 , John 14:23 ).
(2) "Israel hath * * even taken of the accursed thing." Israel's sin then is described as touching the things which God called unclean. The things which He disapproved, disallowed, and put under the ban. Here is a lesson to us all: Beware lest thou touch the unclean thing.
(3) "Israel hath * * put it even among their own stuff." Here is the effort of the sinning heart to hide his sin. He wears the robes of his righteous acts, in order to cover up the filthy garments of his flesh. This is hypocrisy.
2. How God deals with sin. Some one may say that God should have overlooked this sin in the camp, but a holy God cannot be just and at the same time pass over evil. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Sin brings separation. It also brings reproof and correction.
Had God passed by the sin that was in Israel's camp on that day, then Israel would in the future have winked at her sins, and condoned them with the thought that a righteous God did not care.
II. GOD SEES THE HIDDEN STUFF (Joshua 7:11 , l.c.)
We feel that the words, "They have put it evert among their own stuff demand further attention.
1. The tendency of the sinner is to hide his sin.
(1) The story of Adam and Eve is the story of fabricated garments, made of fig leaves, with which they sought to cover their nakedness. It is the story of the hiding in the midst of the trees. This spirit which dominated Adam and Eve still prevails. Sinners revel in the night. They seek to carry on behind closed doors, sheltered nooks, shadowed places.
(2) The story of Saul is the story of sin excused. Saul said: "I have performed the commandment of the Lord." The Prophet replied: "What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" Saul glibly answered: "The people spared the best * * to sacrifice unto the Lord." Then followed the Prophet's memorable words: "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." Thus Saul sought not only to excuse, but also to hide the heinousness of his sin under the guise of a religious cloak. Some men, the farther they walk from God, the more they parade and assume piety.
(3) The story of Balaam. Here is a man who, having sinned, was warned of God when his ass spoke unto him as an angel withstood him in the way. He quickly said: "I have sinned," and then he added: "If it displease thee, I will get me back again." Thus did Balaam seek to play with God's warning, and to toss away every meaning of the angel with the drawn sword. He said: "I have sinned" but pressed on his way, and sinned the more. It was the call of the unrighteous mammon that lured him to his destruction.
2. The determination of God is to reveal man's sin. No sinner can put it over on Deity. It was David who said: "Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising." He added: "There is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether." Does any man think that he can hide himself where God cannot find him? Though he takes the wings of the morning, and flies to the uttermost parts of the earth, God is there.
God will bring to judgment every man. He will make bare the thoughts of the heart and of the mind. He will bring to light every hidden thing. Our sins will surely find us out.
III. WHEN GOD REFUSES TO BLESS (Joshua 7:12 )
1. The expression, "Therefore the Children of Israel could not stand before their enemies." When we read in Joshua 7:11 , "Israel hath sinned," we doubtless demur, knowing well that it was Achan alone who had sinned. What God is teaching is a potent fact. Not only is the sin of the father visited upon the child unto the third and fourth generation, but sin in Israel's camp, or in ours, though it be but the sin of one man, passes judgment on to the whole camp.
For a moment, let us think of a church filled with godly men and women saints true both to the faith, and to service. Would the presence of a minority who sin, affect the victorious march of the faithful? Beyond doubt it would. God is still saying to us what He said of old to Israel: "For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, * * therefore shall thy camp be holy: that He see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee."
2. The expression They "turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed." This is one of the saddest stories of Holy Writ. A group of wonderful men, eager for the fray because of their victory at Jericho, and buoyed up by faith in the Living God, yet utterly smitten and turning their backs on the foe as they ran for their lives. Such defeat as they met was ignominy. It was shameful. Why did God permit such a thing? The answer is recorded: "Because they were accursed." Why were they accursed? because Achan had defiled their camp.
Let us go for a moment to the Church at Pentecost. When Ananias and Sapphira paraded a false devotion, lying unto the Holy Ghost, and keeping back a part of the price of their land, did God pass it up? He did not. Judgment fell speedily, and both Ananias and Sapphira, under the withering sentence of Divine wrath, fell down and gave up the ghost.
God gave warning to the early Church (Acts 5:1-11 ). It is true that the church of today operates under the example of that fiery indignation. Yet, also, how unmindful is the church of all of these things!
IV. WHERE VICTORY IS FOUND (Joshua 7:12 , l.c., 13)
1. Victory depends on the destruction of the accursed thing. The last clause of Joshua 7:12 reads: "Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you." The condition is very plain. The accursed brings defeat; putting away of the accursed, assures victory.
Perhaps Christians fail to consider how much their words and deeds have to do with the victories in Christ, which they hope to obtain. "Power belongeth unto God." Has God not said: "Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord"?
The New Testament records these words: "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work."
2. Victory, therefore, depends upon the sanctification of saints. David recognized this, when he cried out: "Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. * * Create in me a clean heart," etc. "Then," said David, "will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee."
Throughout the ages God has had one call, both to Israel and to the Church, one expressed will stands before us all "This is the will of God, even your sanctification, * * that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence." It is ever true that God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. When Israel went forth to meet the enemy at Jericho, they first sanctified themselves, therefore they met victory. When they went forth to meet the enemy at Ai, they were unclean, therefore, they met defeat.
V. SEARCHING FOR THE ACCURSED THING (Joshua 7:14-18 )
1. They followed every detail to locate sin in their midst. This was all done under the command of God.
First of all they sought tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. In the tribe of Judah, they sought family by family, and the family of the Zarhites was taken. In the families of the Zarhites, they sought man by man, and Zabdi was taken. In the household of Zabdi they sought man by man and Achan was taken.
God did not allow any particular love that He had for Judah, for the families thereof, or, for the individuals thereof, to deter the search.
We wonder how Achan must have felt as he saw first his tribe taken; then the particular family, with which he was aligned, taken; then, the particular head of his own branch, and finally himself.
The time for Achan to have repented was before the search began. When the search did begin, the time for his repentance was before it struck his tribe, certainly before it struck his family, or himself.
2. Achan taken sin will out. Perhaps the wily Achan thought that he could hide from God. He found, to his sorrow, that the Word of God is ever true. God had said: "Be sure your sin will find you out," and Achan's sin found him out.
Thinkest thou, O vain man, that thou canst sow to sin, and not reap thereto? Thinkest thou that thou canst evade the judgment of the Most High God? Hast thou not heard that the books are to be opened and that everyone shall receive according to the things written therein?
VI. REPENTING TOO LATE (Joshua 7:19-20 )
It is very interesting to note Achan's attitude after he was found out, and established as the guilty person, who had taken of the accursed thing. Joshua said unto Achan: "My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto Him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me."
When Joshua accused Achan, Achan confessed and said: "I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel." Let us remember that all of our sins are against God. Even David, when he had killed Uriah said: "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight."
In Achan's confession four words stand out prominently before us:
1. "I saw." This expression showed that Achan was overcome by the lure of gold, and by the pride engendered in his heart by the thought of goodly Babylonish garments.
2. "I coveted." Covetousness is no little sin. The Lord says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world." He also warns against the love of money as the root of all evil.
3. "I * * took." He saw, he coveted, he took. Here was where he yielded to temptation. His love for the spoil made him not only a thief, but a rebel to God's definite command.
4. "I * * hid." The very fact that Achan hid his silver and gold and the spoils which he had taken in the midst of his tent, is abundant proof that Achan knew all the time that he was doing wrong. When we try to cover up our tracks it is a concession that we are walking in an evil way.
VII. THE INEXORABLE RESULTS OF SIN (Joshua 7:25-26 )
1. Sin troubles others. Here are Joshua's own words: "Why hast thou troubled us?" If one could sin alone, unto himself, it would be different. However, every man is indissolubly linked to every other man. Whatsoever the husband does, affects his wife and children; whatsoever the citizen does, affects his neighbor.
The truth is that sin blights everything it touches, and it seems to touch everything. Some one cries, "It is no-body's business what I do." Nay, it is everybody's business, because your sin affects them. Remember that your liberties end, where another's life is touched.
2. Sin troubles you, yourself. One cannot play with fire and not, himself, be burned. You cannot take a serpent into your bosom, and not be bitten. Sin brought to Achan enough of sorrow.
We have often seen the ravages of sin health gone, peace gone, money gone, friends gone, life gone who wants to play with sin?
What anguish, what heartaches, what bitter cups have always befallen those who followed in the paths of the unjust!
3. Sin ends in death. It is not alone the present that is marred by sin. Sin spells woe for the life to come. Achan died a physical death he was stoned because he had sinned. That was bad enough. How unspeakably worse is it to suffer eternal death.
Outer darkness, without one ray of light that is the result of sin.
Oh, to have no hope, no refuge,
No one to aid and cheer thee;
Oh. to have no Christ forever,
How dark thy life will be!
"Murder will out," is the old saying. Yes, and so will other sins out. They will not stay hidden. They begin to squirm and twist and push and pry just as soon as they are covered up, and heavy must be the lid that holds them down and in.
This is one of Dr. Deem's stories: A minister once called upon a class leader. After having prayed with the family, he said, "Brother, how is it that you have been a church member so long and yet you are not a converted man?"
"Are you my judge?"
"I know you by your fruits. You have no family worship."
"Well, I suppose that it is true; but I'd like to know who told you."
"No one told me; but had you been in the habit of having family Worship, the cat would not have jumped out of the window, frightened, as it did when we knelt to pray."
The erring class leader acknowledged the truth of the cat test and confessed that he had omitted family prayers because he did not wish his men to lose the time from their work. The Classmate.
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Joshua 7". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19