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Summary: Today’s message is one of warning. It is a cautionary lesson from the Bible that I pray you will listen to very carefully with a mind and heart that is open to God’s Spirit. Though this is not a message of joy, it is one of great consequence for your fu

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Disobedience, Defeat, and Discipline

Text: Joshua 7

Several weeks ago I began a study in Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, drawing lessons for our own advance into the place of abundant blessing in the presence of God! Are you taking your promised land, moving into a life that is filled with the fruitfulness of the Holy Spirit, that is characterized by the abundance of love, joy, and peace promised by God?

Last time I spoke to you, we considered the story of Jericho, that stronghold that first confronted the Israeli people upon their entrance to the Promised Land. How did they conquer?

Here are the principles in review....

∙ Realistically assess the difficulties of the situation.

∙ Take hold of the promise of God regarding the situation.

∙ Commit yourself to a total willingness to obey God’s directives.

∙ Exercise the patience that is required for God to accomplish his purpose and plan.

∙ Honor the vows and commitments that you have made even when the battle is over and done!

Everybody likes the messages of conquest and promise and I like to preach them!

Today’s message is one of warning. It is a cautionary lesson from the Bible that I pray you will listen to very carefully with a mind and heart that is open to God’s Spirit. Though this is not a message of joy, it is one of great consequence for your future relationship to the Lord and this is a sobering lesson about our inter-connectedness - for good and evil - in life.

Americans are individualistic. We view life, for the most part, through a lens about ‘what is best for me’ or perhaps a bit more broadly, ‘what is best for my family.’ We speak of ‘personal responsibility’ forgetting that our lives are inter-connected, a web of relationships. The implication of those relationships come into focus in this message today as well.

Turn in your Bible to Joshua 7. In the Pew Bible the text is found on page 339

The Setup of the Offense - 7: 1

What was Achan’s sin? God had given clear, firm command to the Israelites that the none of the wealth of Jericho was to be personally taken by the warriors. The entire city was to be either destroyed or committed to the national treasury in God’s name.

Try to imagine the temptation that some of those soldiers felt as the battle waned that day in Jericho. These men had been refugees for more than 40 years. They had not had any opportunity to accumulate any wealth. Now as the smoke of the destroyed city swirls around them and they gather up gold, silver, and other wealth to deliver to Joshua, they see more wealth in a moment’s time than they have ever seen before! Their parents had told them stories of the wealth of Egypt and now they were seeing those things with their own eyes.

Maybe the scene developed a little like this-

"Hey, Samuel, wouldn’t the wife look like a million in this dress?"

*"Yeah, Achan, but throw it in the fire!"

"Sammy, look what this guy had in the back of the cupboard. I’ll bet this bag of gold would buy a great vacation

cruise on the Nile for Naomi and me on our anniversary!"

*"You’re right, Achan, but the boss said bring it all back for the temple treasury. This city is for God and God alone!"

"Look at this bar of silver, would you, Sammy?

This guy must have hit the lottery a year back. This loot would fix me up for a couple

of years."

*"Listen, Achan, you’ve got a problem! Just forget the stuff, ok?

It isn’t ours and if we take it, we’re stealing from the Lord"

Achan, the lead character of this drama, isn’t so very different from you and me. He was a person who appreciated the good life just as much as every man has since Adam. He made a terrible mistake, though, when he let the desire for the good life become his first priority, taking the lead over his obedience to the Lord.

His sin was stealing what belonged to God!

What does this mean to us? The Bible says that we belong to the Lord!

"You are not your own; you were bought with a price."

"You are a chosen people...a people belonging to God!"

Believer, when you seize control of your life, choosing to do as you please, you are stealing from God!

-when you use your time for selfish pursuits of the things of this world, you are stealing from God.

-when you waste your talents and gifts, you are stealing from God.

-when you ignore the cries of the needy around you, you are stealing from God.

-when you reject the urging of the Holy Spirit to change your ways and become more like Jesus,

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