Summary: Satan may be laughing when we fall, but we will get the last laugh on him. In the end, we win.
The Last Laugh
By Pastor Jim May
Tonight I want to begin this message by pointing you to a familiar story in the Book of Joshua. This is a story of one of Israel’s defeats at the hand of their enemy.
It wasn’t long after Israel crossed the River Jordan before they ran into their first major obstacle in taking the Promised Land. There, sitting squarely in the path that led to their inheritance was a great city named Jericho.
I find that this is always the case when someone is born again. The resurrection power of the blood of Jesus brings them through the Jordan River, a symbol of dying to the old man and being born again into a new creation in Christ. But no sooner are they free from sin when the Devil sends something, or someone, along to discourage them in the way.
There’s always a huge obstacle to face for the new convert. Jericho, with its huge walls represents everything that Satan can throw in your path to keep you from serving the Lord. There’s walls of doubt, walls of fear, walls of weakness, walls of nay-sayers who will try to find a way to stop you from serving the Lord.
But how did Israel overcome? They won out through obedience to the Word of God that said to keep moving. For 7 days and 7 times on the 7th day they walked in silent reverence to God’s command. They stayed silent before the Lord, listening to the voice of God and to the voice of His servant Joshua, as they walked in obedience.
Sometimes I think that the best thing we can do is just keep silent before God. It’s hard to hear Him speaking to us when we are too busy doing our thing or drowning out his voice with our own. The Children of Israel marched around Jericho until they reached the fullness of God’s plan. Each step had to be taken. There were no short cuts, the city had to be compassed completely. And those obstacles that block the path of the new convert must be overcome as well. They are overcome by spiritual growth and obedience.
Eventually the walls came down and Israel walked up the heap of bricks and over the wall into the city with hardly a struggle.
When the walls fell, the fallen bricks created easy paths for the Israelites to climb into the city and defeat it. What once stood as an obstacle now became a bridge. (There is only one place in the old wall that still stands and most scholars believe that’s where Rahab lived and it was spared by God because of her aid to Israel)
We can either fight our own battles and face the possibility of losing or becoming a casualty, or we can obey God and let him fight the battle and we can win without much effort. How hard do you struggle with your obstacles?
The sad thing is that sometimes when we overcome the devil, we get just a little bit too sure if ourselves and we allow the sin of pride to enter in.
That’s what happened at Jericho. God gave them a great deliverance miracle of victory, but one man became a little greedy and disobeyed God.
Joshua 7:1-5, "But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel. And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water."
What is that “accursed thing”? In Achan’s case it was just a little bit of the wealth of Jericho that he hid in his tent. But that a very nice Babylonian robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, " cost him dearly. Sadly, 36 of his fellowmen died in the attack of AI, and Achan, along with his entire family, lost out with God and died for their sins. We can’t afford to take chances with our salvation.