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Summary: The consequences of hidden sin in your life.

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“The Tragedy of Hidden Sins”

Joshua 7

A scientist, unjustly accused and convicted of a major crime, found himself sentenced to hard time in a prison out in the Arizona desert. His cellmate turned out to be another scientist. Determined to escape, the first man tried to convince his colleague to make the attempt with him. He refused. After careful planning the scientist made his escape. Before long the heat of the desert, the lack of food and water, and complete disorientation in the hostile wilderness almost drove him mad. He was soon forced to return to the prison. He reported his terrible experience to the other scientist who surprised him by saying, "Yes, I know. I tried it too and failed, too, for the same reasons." The first scientist responded bitter, "For heaven’s sake, man, when you knew I was going to make a break for it, why didn’t you tell me what it was like out there?" His cellmate responded with a shrug, "Who publishes negative results?"

There is some truth in that little story. Even in the church, we often don’t talk about sin. And when we ignore that, we condemn others to make the same mistakes and suffer hardship. Today we are going to look at Joshua 7, a very blunt chapter about sin and its consequences. Let me set the context: The Israelites are across the Jordan and have begun the conquest of the promised land. God has promised them victory, and has promised to be with them at every step of the journey. Up to this point Joshua and the children of Israel just marched around Jericho 13 times, and the walls came tumbling down. Now can you imagine the celebration that must have taken place that night? The most heavily fortified city of the ancient world had been conquered without losing a single Israeli soldier. But the first word of Joshua chapter 7 is one of the scariest words in any language: But. Whenever you hear the word “but,” what follows is usually not very pleasant. Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t want to be critical, BUT…” That means they DO intend to be critical.

In Joshua 7, the word “but” ushers in a sad story of sin and suffering. In this message we are going to learn about the tragedy of Hidden Sins. Read Joshua 7:1-5. What a tragedy! Joshua immediately fell on his face in prayer to complain to God. Read Joshua 7:6-9. Don’t we do the same thing? When unpleasant things happen, our first question is usually, “Why, God?” But notice God’s response. Read Joshua 7:10-11. So under God’s direction, all the men gathered before Joshua, and they kept narrowing down the men until only one man was left before Joshua–Achan. Read Joshua 7:19-21. What happened next was not pretty. Read Joshua 7:24-26.

This is a message about how sin can destroy your life. Achan represents a person who has crossed over the Jordan River and entered God’s Promised Land, and still stumbled and fell into sin. This story should serve as a powerful lesson to every Christian: WARNING: SPIRITUAL PRIDE LEADS TO FAILURE! The Bible says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) Fresh from the victory of Jericho, Joshua and the spies thought Ai would be a pushover. After all, Ai was a little podunk village compared to Jericho. But because of spiritual pride, they were defeated at Ai. It would be like an army conquering OKC, and then being defeated by Natura, OK. If you aren’t careful, you may find yourself thinking you are beyond the reach of sin. That’s a dangerous place to be. There are three truths about sin each of us needs to know.


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