Summary: Greed brought trouble to Achan. What hope do we have in the grasp of greed's temptation? Parts: A. Greed grabs at our hearts. B. Jesus is greater than our greed.
Text: Joshua 7:16-26
Theme: Greed Isn't just for the Rich
A. Greed grabs at our hearts
B. Jesus is greater than our greed
Season: Lent 1c
Date: February 21, 2010
Web page: http://hancocklutheran.org/sermons/Greed-Isn_t-just-for-the-Rich-Joshua7_16-26.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit stirs our hearts is Joshua 7
"Joshua got up early in the morning and gathered together Israel tribe by tribe. The tribe of Judah was taken. He gathered together the clans of Judah. He took the clan of the Zarhites. He gathered the clan of the Zarhites leader by leader, and Zabdi was taken. He gathered the household of Zabdi man by man, and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
"Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD the God of Israel and give him praise. Tell me what you have done. Do not hide it from me."
"Achan answered Joshua and said, "Truly it's I who've sinned against the LORD the God of Israel. This here is what I've done: I saw in the spoils a beautiful Babylonian cloak, five pounds of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing over a pound. I desired them and took them. See, they're buried in the ground inside my tent with the silver underneath." Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent. And behold, it was buried in his tent with the silver underneath. They took the things outside the tent and brought them to Joshua and all the sons of Israel. They poured them out before the LORD.
"Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan, the son of Zerah, the silver, the cloak, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had. They took them to the valley of Achor (Trouble). Joshua said, "In whatever way you've troubled us, the LORD will trouble you today."
"All Israel stoned him, and they burnt them with fire when they had stoned them with stones. Then they piled up over him a large heap of stones that's still there today. And the LORD turned from his burning anger. Therefore the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor (Trouble) still today." (Joshua 7:16-26)
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
" . . . greed, for the lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works." ( http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Gordon_Gekko or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7upG01-XWbY ). Those are the infamous words of Gordon Gekko, the villian played by Michael Douglas in the 1987 movie /Wall Street/. We love to hate the greedy rich. We find satisfaction when justices punishes the Madoffs and Petters in their Ponzi schemes. Suspicions lurk in us that many more on Wall Street or in big business have been less than honest in their pursuit of wealth. How dare they say greed is good!
But greed isn't just for the rich. It grabbed the heart of a common man like Achan. It grabs at our hearts as well. Only Jesus is greater than greed.
A. Greed grabs at our hearts
1. When are we guilty of greed?
Greed isn't just for the rich. It grabs at our hearts. To see that, let's consider the case of Achan. Through Moses the Lord had brought his people, Israel, out of slavery in Egypt forty years earlier. Now under the leadership of Joshua, Moses' successor, they were entering the land of Canaan, the Promised land.
The first battle on the west side of the Jordan was against the fortified city of Jericho. God delivered the city into Israel's hands. You know well what happened. For six days with the Ark of the Covenant they marched once around the city in silence with only the seven priests in front of the Ark blowing their trumpets.
On the seventh day they marched around seven times. For the seventh time around when the priests sounded the trumpet, Joshua had given the people this command: "Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury" (Joshua 6:16-19 NIV). Even as the Lord gave them the city without a battle, they were to give back to the Lord everything in the city by utterly destroying all in it and placing the precious metals into the Lord's treasury.