Summary: The importance of not compromising with sin
Achan’s Fatal Mistake
Primary Purpose: The importance of not compromising with sin
Last week we saw the people of God stand before their enemy and defeat them. We saw the powerful story of how God led the people of God to defeat Jericho. As they turn from this fresh victory, they turn their attention to Ai. Scripture tells us that it was east of Bethel. Apparently, it was a much smaller community, for the spies say that only a few men are there. Yet, these few men turned out to be much more trouble than all the people of Jericho. We want to look at why. (Read Scripture)
The first thing I want you to notice is what is absent. You don’t see any praying going on here. The people of God are confidence, perhaps self-confident about their success. They don’t spent the time like they did before consecrating themselves for battle. They don’t realize yet that secret sins can often creep in unaware.
In a recent survey in Discipleship Journal Magazine, readers reported that their greatest spiritual challenges came from
5. Anger/Bitterness (Tie)
6. Sexual Lust (Tie)
Survey respondents noted that temptations seemed more potent when they neglected their time with God and when tired physically. We are also vulnerable during these time. We can become self-confident, instead of God confident. We should be aware that we are also vulnerable to overconfidence when we experience a spiritual victory.
In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters below. News of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. It wasn’t a technology problem like radar malfunction-or even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ships presence nearby. Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield first. By the time they came to their senses, it was too late.
1. God sees their secret sins. vs.11 To most of the Israelites the cause of their failure was a complete mystery. But, I have a hard time believing that in the middle of war someone didn’t see Achan run off with bars of gold, silver and a beautiful robe. The family kept it quiet for him and suffered for it also.
Psalm 66:18 tells us that if we cherish sin in our hearts that God won’t listen to our voices, our prayers. That’s how seriously God takes sin. Maybe nobody else saw what Achan did, but God saw it. Psalm 139:3-4 says that “You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.”
The people were unaware of the sin, but God wasn’t and God’s didn’t say it was okay, or that it was a small sin or take it lightly.
Red Devil Tool Company of Union, N.J. has as their slogan, “It’s easy with the devil.” Of course, they are boasting that their tools transform difficult tasks into simple ones.
Those knowing God’s word understand the desire and ambition of Satan, how he seeks to destroy mankind. He makes sin appear to be attractive. He shows how pleasant sin and immoral conduct can be. Of course, Satan never shows the tragic end of sin.
One need not look long before seeing the results of the power of sin in the lives of people: premature deaths, broken and dysfunctional homes, plus the loneliness and the heartache sin brings. The bible does say there is a pleasure in sin, but such pleasure is only momentary. The end result is not only pain, but separation from God on earth, then in eternity. Spending eternity in hell is the result of continuing in sin.
Life isn’t easy with the devil- it’s the most difficult of all lives.
2. God desires for us to confess and repent of sin. v.14-15 God gives Joshua a elaborate way of discovering who the guilty party is. Achan has to realize he has been discovered, yet he still doesn’t come forward voluntarily. He really can’t even enjoy his robe or gold, to do so would be to be discovered. But, he’s silent when he should be confessing sin.
Notice how seriously God takes this- vs.12 “I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.”
God is willing to completely let go of these people to the consequences of their own actions if they won’t repent.
3. God desires a blameless witness for his children. God repeatedly tells the people to be holy for He is holy. He desires for his children to reflect who He is to a lost and dying world. We do that both through words and actions. Our actions especially often speak even louder than our words.