Summary: It’s not the Jerichos that defeat most Christians...it’s the Ais. What Christian America must do to keep from following the path Israel took in our text. Link inc. to formatted text, audio & video, PowerPoint.
Prescription for an Achan Nation
Have you ever noticed the similarities between Israel and Christian America? Both bountifully blessed by God, having great victories and claiming powerful promises of God. And both flirting with defeat by turning away from Him. Both nations have a friend in God and both have enemies that would love nothing more than to destroy them.
Let’s look at our text and see what we can learn about America, particularly today...
In our text nothing is left of Jericho but smoking rubble and ashes. The people of that city are all dead, and the spoils were all to be dedicated to the Lord.
But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.
The riches and bounty of that place were to be placed in the treasury. It’s the principle of the first fruits...found throughout the Bible. It says that the first of everything belongs to God. The tithe [10% of our income] is a part of this principle, but God should also get the firstfruits not only of our treasure but of our time and talents.
When we give God the firstfruits we are recognizing His provision...that He provided the means, the energy, and the ability to live, work, and prosper.
We are also recognizing His property. If you make $400 this week how much of it belongs to God? All of it, not just $40. Returning the first portion is a way of confirming that He is the owner of it all.
Finally, we are recognizing His power. Only God has the power to take 90% and make it go further than 100% could have ever gone.
v. 1 speaks of the ‘accursed thing’. Anything you steal from God has a curse on it. So 90% of my income w/ God’s blessing upon it is much better than 100% w/ a curse placed upon it. God is my partner.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
When will some Christians finally get tired of trying to dig themselves out of a hole? You’ve tried it your way...how’s it working? How about giving God’s way a try. He invites you to put Him to the test that He’s never failed. Do you have the faith to try His plan?
Joshua 7:21 shows the progression of sin as Achan saw, coveted, took, and hid. Nobody saw what he did...except for God!
The next day Israel needs to finish off a little nearby village. Not a great walled city like Jericho. Ai is so small that Joshua’s captains recommend they just send a small detachment to do the job.
But no sooner than they invade they start sensing that God is not on their side. Up to this point God had been fighting for them and giving them the victory, but not today. 36 men died and the name of God was disgraced.
Why? Because there was sin in the camp!
There was 2 parts to this sin: personal and national.
The personal sin was Achan’s, and we covered it thoroughly in a recent message on covetousness:
He saw, he coveted, he took, and he hid. First there’s desire, then deed, then deception. It happened the same way for David w/ Bathsheba. He saw her, wanted her, sent for her, then covered it up. And it happens the same today for you and me.
So there was personal guilt involved...
But also national guilt...and I want to focus on that today. The entire nation of Israel bore some responsibility for Achan’s sin. This was an Achan Nation!
v. 1a “The children of Israel trespassed...”
v. 11 “Israel hath sinned...”
Why? Because, if Israel had been right with God they could have prevented all of this.
And we, the people of God, are in some sense responsible for the sins of America. I’m talking about something called corporate guilt. Why is America become an immoral nation? In large part because of the apathy of those of us who know better. We are supposed to be salt and light. Salt that penetrates and light that radiates. We are supposed to be the salty preservative of morality. We are supposed to be a bright light of truth exposing the forces of darkness, but we aren’t doing a good job of it.
We use this term sometimes about civilians who die because of war. We always try to minimize it. Our enemy actually tries to kill civilians, even their own to win. It has been rightly said that Iraqi and Afghani civilians bear some responsibility for what they allowed their nations to become. I know they have been oppressed, but by not rising up and overturning their leaders long ago they allowed their own oppression to occur! We call them innocent civilians, and I think we should call them that, especially little children who have done nothing wrong. But we need to remember that there is a sense of national guilt that exists.