No Hiding Place – Joshua 7:1-12
Introduction: The actions of a few can have positive or negative consequences for hundreds. This is powerfully illustrated in the life of a man named Achan. His attitude may have been the same as many today: what I do is nobody’s business but mine. Achan discovered the reality that sin has no hiding place and carries with it dire consequences not only for the offender but that are widespread. One man’s sin can destroy a family, a church, and even a nation.
I. The Enticement of Sin
A. Joshua 7:21a “When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them.”
B. He was enticed by a beautiful cloak or robe of Shinar. Shinar was known for its gorgeous brilliant and assorted colored interwoven and embroidered robes which resembled those of modern Turkish carpet; he also was enticed by five pounds of silver and a 1.25 pound gold ingot.
C. Sin always presents itself as beautiful, pleasurable, gratifying, harmless, justifiable and desirable.
D. Note the temptation of…
1. Eve – “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. (Genesis 3:6)
2. David – “Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman [was] very beautiful to behold.” (2 Samuel 11:2)
3. Moses – “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25)
E. Greek mythology tells of seductive sea nymphs called sirens whose sweet singing lured seamen to destruction on the rocks surrounding their island. A similar story in German mythology tells about the Lorelei, Rhine River maidens whose singing lured sailors toward rocks on the river bank that would wreck their ships. Today we are far too clever to be taken in by myths of water nymphs; yet we, like the sailors, are in danger of being lured off the course we accepted when we gave our lives to Christ. What enticements call you to abandon you Christian stance? Perhaps your seduction is a yearning to be rich and famous. Maybe you long to appear intellectual or to get ahead in your job or career. Maybe you cave in to family pressure or to fit into an admired social group. Maybe you’re drawn to the lure of getting high or the warmth of intoxication. Maybe you hunger after forbidden fruit or desire a little excitement in your life. Whatever causes you to deny the truth of Jesus Christ or to wander from the course than Christ has set for you is your siren song. - adapted
F. James 1:14 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed."
G. The allurements of the world and the attractiveness of sin do not make it any less ugly in the sight of the holy Lord God.
H. "Sin is like alcoholism. Sinners are never cured; they simply decide to stop sinning ... and it's a daily decision." — John Fischer
II. The Deception of Sin
A. Joshua 7:21b “When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”
B. Think of how Achan must have rationalized his sin: "No one will know." "These things won't be missed." “It’s no big deal”. "Just think of how good I will look.” “I'll be the most admired person when I wear this beautiful Babylonian garment." "I'm not hurting anyone." "I deserve this." “I can keep it my little secret.” The excuses can go on and on, but they all fall short.
C. Hebrews 3:12-13 “Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God, But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”.
D. On Monday, July 20, 1998, fire broke out aboard the Carnival Ecstasy Cruise Ship off the coast of Miami. Television stations carried the drama live, even making contact with some of the passengers via cellular telephones. At one point, passenger George Gonzales, on live television, told WSVN-TV anchorman Rick Sanchez, "I think they've gotten control of it." Sanchez, who could see on camera what the passengers could not see, knew that the flames were still raging on the ship. "No, George," Sanchez replied. "I'm sorry to tell you the fire is still burning." There are a lot of people today who believe that they've got everything under control. But unless the Spirit has taken control of their lives, the fire is still burning. – Barry L. Davis, the "Pastor's Helper"
E. We are told in 1 Corinthians 4:5 that Jesus Christ “will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.”
F. Numbers 32:23 “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.”
G. BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese man has been arrested after hiding in a hole for 12 years because he was wanted for stealing $15, the Legal Daily reported on Tuesday, 10/12/1999. It said police had searched many times for the man, identified only as Lu, who allegedly stole the money from a house in the southern county of Xinyuan in 1987. During yet another search of his house last month, however, someone noticed something strange about a closet. They moved it and found Lu hiding in a three-foot hole he had dug underneath the closet. The newspaper said he had used the hole as a hiding place for 12 years, emerging occasionally at night. – What lengths are YOU going to in an attempt to HIDE your sin? Come out of hiding, and experience God's cleansing!- Source: Reuters, 10/12/1999
H. Exodus 2:12, 14 “So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand...So Moses feared and said, "Surely this thing is known!"
I. Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”
III. The Devastation of Sin
A. Galatians 5:9 “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”
B. After the amazing conquest of Jericho, Israel sought to take Ai. The men sent out to spy out Ai advised Joshua to send only two or three thousand men against Ai "for the people of Ai are few" (Josh. 7:3). But we read in Joshua 7:5 “And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.”
C. In verses 11 and 12 God tells Joshua, “Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.”
D. In 1520 one man brought small pox to Mexico, where it cost three and one half million deaths. Another man, who landed in England in 1348, was responsible for spreading the Black Death, "Bubonic Plague," the greatest killer Great Britain has ever known. Likewise, one inconsistent or disloyal church member can hurt the whole church. Listen to Paul: "Whether one member suffers, all members suffer with it; or one member is honored, all themselves rejoice with it" (1 Cor. 12:26). It does not take many bullets from a rifle to kill a man. One bullet can kill. It does not take many deadly diseases to bring death to the human body. One deadly disease can bring death. It does not take the breakage of many bones to cripple the hand. One broken bone can cripple. The Bible teaches, "One sinner destroyeth much good" - Robert G. Lee, SERMONIC LIBRARY, p. 46.
E. One does not sin in a vacuum. Someone has sad “My sin is never just mine!”
F. Joshua 22:20 ( NLT) “Didn’t divine anger fall on the entire community of Israel when Achan, a member of the clan of Zerah, sinned by stealing the things set apart for the Lord[a]? He was not the only one who died because of his sin.”
IV. The Deadliness of Sin
A. James 1:14-16 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
B. Sin can become so settled in even a professing believer’s heart that he can become blinded to its consequences.
C. There is no immunity from the consequences of sin; punishment is swift and sure to one and all. – Hosea Ballou
D. Joshua 7:24-25 “Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day." So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. “
E. Sin cost Achan his life. But it also brought down his family. Achan lost it all.
F. Romans 6:23a “The wages of sin is death…”
G. In 1982, “ABC Evening News” reported on an unusual work of modern art—a chair affixed to a shotgun. It was to be viewed by sitting in the chair and looking directly into the gun barrel. The gun was loaded and set on a timer to fire at an undetermined moment within the next hundred years. The amazing thing was that people waited in lines to sit and stare into the shell’s path! They all knew the gun could go off at point-blank range at any moment, but they were gambling that the fatal blast wouldn’t happen during THEIR minute in the chair. Yes, it was foolhardy, yet many people who wouldn’t dream of sitting in that chair live a lifetime gambling that they can get away with sin. Foolishly they ignore the risk until the inevitable self-destruction.
H. Ezekiel 18:4 “"Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.”
V. Conclusion – Dealing with Sin.
A. Joshua 7:12-13 “Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you. Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.’”
B. "Some Christians end up as backsliders because they are conquered by a sinful habit that is inconsistent with their Christian discipleship. Instead of giving up the habit, they give up their church and faith." - W. Werning
C. "The essence of sin is the refusal to recognize that we are accountable to God at all." — Oswald Chambers Source: Christianity Today, Vol. 37, no. 11
D. Hebrews 4:13 "And there is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."
E. We need to ask ourselves before we yield to secret sin:
1. What will this sin cost me in my life and in my relationship to Christ/?
2. What will this do to my family?
3. How will my actions affect the Body of Christ?
4. What message am I sending about Christ’s transforming power?
5. How does what I am doing impact the heart of God?
F. 1 John 2:1, 1:9 “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous… If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.