Summary: God’s instruction regarding Jericho: "Don’t touch it. It’s mine. This was, and is, a lesson in trust as well as tithe. The Israelites have been given the Promised Land totally by the power of God. To remind them that this was His power, His land, He told
Let’s start this morning by taking a little informal survey. Anyone here ever had money stolen from them? OK, how about tools, anyone ever have tools stolen? How about borrowed and not returned?
Anyone ever have a car stolen? What about having something stolen from your car, like say a computer? Anyone here ever have their home broken into? ILL… our precious CD collection gone… My recorded Radio talk shows from Romania! (Can you imagine the thief’s surprise? instead of music, a long lithany in a foreign language - ha, ha...)
There is something intensely personal about having an object stolen from me, it is a violation and I felt hurt and confused: who would do something like this? Felt angry. So to a certain degree I understand the sign that said, “This property protected by a pit bull with HIV”.
Here’s the flip side, a little more personal here. How many people here have ever stolen? Now I realize that I’m asking the wrong crowd, but maybe if we take it away from today and move it into the distant past.
Maybe candy as a child, or money from your mother’s purse or father’s wallet. A toy from a store? Maybe it was office supplies from work, or a little creative accounting on your tax return. Or maybe, it was taking a can and drink it, back in the store, and not paying for.
Anyone fall into those categories? Carmen where is my camera? Could I honestly say today that everyone here falls into one of those two categories as having been stolen from or has stolen from someone else?
We all have something lurking inside of us that is fascinated with the concept of getting something for nothing. Something that lives deep inside that says “boy, if I could get that for nothing that would be great.”
Which explains why so many shoplifters who are caught don’t need to shoplift. Because they aren’t doing it out of necessity they are doing it for the thrill. And so God is saying here, in Exodus 20:15- Don’t let that desire to get something for nothing, win out.
I love this loud story. The one where the horns blew, the people shouted, the walls came tumbling down! I like loud stories like that, when God delivered His people. No problem for God. Wiped it out, walls came down. You know, Jericho fell by no act of the Israelites except one of trust. Right? God asked them to do something that seemed a little crazy and they did it. Boom! No earth quick, no meteorite, no conspiration theory about bomb planted before by CIA…Jericho did not fall by any act of theirs except for the act of trust.
Turn to Joshua 6. God had spent years in the wilderness teaching people He had taken out of Egypt, out of bondage, out of idol worship, out of everything that was in Egypt, and He spent years in the wilderness teaching them with one lesson after another about relying only on Him.
"See! You can’t part the Red Sea. I can. You can’t make water come out of a rock. I can."God had been teaching them so much, but now He was about to take this lesson a step further. Joshua 6:17-19 READ.
God gives instructions about Jericho. Don’t touch it. It’s mine. This was, and is, a lesson in trust as well as tithe. The Israelites have been given the Promised Land totally by the power of God. To remind them that this was His power, His land, He told them that they were to remember Him first by dedicating the first fruits of the Promised Land to Him. That sounds nice, easy enough. They had learned to trust Him all through the wilderness. Right? How did they do?
Joshua 7:1 READ.
Notice that this verse starts out by saying that Israel was unfaithful. Israel was unfaithful, then it goes to great lengths to tell us exactly who caused the trouble, all the way down to his family and tribe. And then it concludes by telling us of God’s anger against Israel.
There’s a lesson here. Achan’s stealing is not isolated. It affects the whole people of God. Plus it affects how their enemies view them: Just another band of thugs no better than other tribes in the neighborhood.
I’ve discovered something. My actions never affect only me! That’s a hard lesson to learn. I’m still learning it. "Oh, it’s just going to hurt me. This is just going to affect me." Radio debate - "Why isn’t marijuana legal? It only affects me." I challenge anybody here to come up to me with something that only affects them. You’d be surprised. If nothing else, it affects your relationship with someone special: God. Nothing we do affects only us.