Summary: Sermon #5 in my study of Joshua. This sermon focuses on how sin isn’t often taken seriously by anyone except God.
1. When it comes to great dreams and depending on God to fulfill those dreams it is certainly true. We may have great dreams for what God may do in the future, but great dreams begin with small steps toward those great goals. When it comes to our dreams, I can assure you there will always be some challenges to those dreams that will get in the way.
2. Things always look different to us when we are in the middle of a crises. I almost hate to do it, but I think it will provide the appropriate beginning to this morning’s sermon. Would you go back with me to the morning of 9-11. We were a nation in the middle of a crises. You didn’t have to live close to New York City or Washington DC to feel that crises. To help us feel just a little bit of that let me take you back through what was being reported and the times CNN was reporting them. . .
Cell #1— (Each item comes in separately)
8:45 AM: A large plane, crashes into one of the World Trade Center towers.
9:03 AM: A second plane, crashes into the second World Trade Center tower.
9:17 AM: The FAA shuts down all New York City area airports.
9:21 AM: New York city Port Authority orders all bridges and tunnels closed.
9:30 AM: Bush says the country has suffered an "apparent terrorist attack."
9:40 AM: The FAA halts flights in the U.S.
9:43 AM: An aircraft crashes into the Pentagon.
9:45 AM: The White House evacuates.
9:57 AM: Bush departs from Florida.
10:05 AM: The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:10 AM: United Airlines Flight 93 crashes southeast of Pittsburgh.
3. Even though that morning was nearly four years ago, just hearing the things we know happened, has a way of bringing us up short doesn’t it? When the nation is in crises, we feel it. The memories are bad!
4. The passage we’re studying this morning tells the story of a nation in crises. God had given His people a great victory at Jericho. Until a few days before the attack, no one knew how they were going to do it. Then, God gave a battle plan, the walls fell and as they say, "the rest is history." We love the Jericho experiences when God is at work and we experience great victories in the face of incredible challenges.
5. However, there are those others times when things don’t look good. A few weeks ago I had someone tell me that they remembered a time in our church perhaps 11 or 12 years ago when they wondered if the church would survive. This person’s perspective was that at that point things were bad and getting worse.
6. Most of you know that I tend to be an optimist. I always like to look at the positive side of things. I think that’s a good thing, but it’s not a good thing if we never face reality. There are those times when things don’t look good. The first part of the passage in Joshua that we’re focusing on this morning tells the story of a time when things didn’t look the least bit good. The story we’re focusing on this morning takes place in Joshua 7 and 8, but because of time, we will only read excerpts from the passage. Let’s begin with this first part of chapter 7.
Cell #2— Joshua 7:1-5
1 But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel.
2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, "Go up and spy out the land." So the men went up and spied out Ai.
3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, "Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few."
4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai.
5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.
I. The Danger of Sin Joshua 7:1-5
1. The seventh chapter of Joshua opens with that ominous little word "but." Chapter six has been a chapter of incredible victories as God came through in very dramatic ways. Suddenly, and it seems without warning we’re thrown face to face with a series of failures that stand in sharp contrast to the victories of the past six chapters. The joy of the last chapter’s victory has evaporated. The confidence that was so contageous before has been replaced by the gloom of defeat, and it is equally contageous.