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Summary: Everything we have comes from the Lord, and to with hold it from Him is sin.

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What Are You Holding Back?

Text: Joshua 7:1-26

Introduction

1. Illustration: When French soccer star Zinedine Zidane head-butted Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the chest during the final 10 minutes of the 2006 World Cup he sealed his own fate and the fate of his team.

When Zidane was sent off with a red card France lost its best scorer. And this, just as the match headed into a penalty shootout.

The score was 4-3 – to Italy. If Zidane hadn’t been sent off, then maybe France would have ended the game with a draw. As it was Italian Fabio Grosso sealed Italy’s fourth World Cup championship with his second goal of the tournament.

Zidane, with all his skill and courage, had carried France to the World Cup final. They were never expected to make it. But after this foul he left the field walking past the World Cup trophy with his head down – and disappeared into the changing rooms – the game and his career were over.

One man commits a foul, is sent off the field, his team loses and a whole country blames the culprit.

Another man scores a goal and his country erupts in wild excitement and adulation.

It only takes one hole to sink a ship.

2. Ex. 22:29 "Do not hold anything back when you give me the tithe of your crops and your wine."

3. As God’s people we cannot withhold anything from Him because:

a. Everything we have comes belongs to the Lord

b. Holding back from the Lord affects the whole community

c. Holding back from the Lord requires repentance

4. Read Joshua 7:1-5

Proposition: Everything we have comes from the Lord, and to with hold it from Him is sin.

Transition: We cannot with hold anything from Him because...

I. Everything We Have Belongs to the Lord (1-5)

A. Concerning the Things Set Apart

1. Insider information is always helpful, and that’s what the writer of the text does for us.

2. He tells us, "But Israel was unfaithful concerning the things set apart for the LORD."

a. The word translated "unfaithful" means "to act undercover," or "secretly" (Woudstra, 120).

b. The term in question here (m‘l) is used to describe a wife’s adultery: it was a betrayal of a trust that existed between two parties. In almost every use of this term in the Bible, the trust broken is that between God and humans.—(New American Commentary)

c. In the last chapter they were strictly forbidden to take any of the spoils for themselves, because the glory of their victory belonged to the Lord.

d. However, someone secretly took one of the "devoted things" for themselves.

e. Greed to him was more important than honoring the Lord.

3. Next, we learn who did it. "A man named Achan had stolen some of these things...Achan was the son of Carmi, of the family of Zimri, of the clan of Zerah, and of the tribe of Judah."

a. The perpetrator is described to us in great detail.

b. The author describes his family, clan, and tribe.

c. Of all things, he is of the favored tribe of Judah, the tribe that Jesus himself would come from.

d. This just goes to show us that when it comes to sin, we can run but we cannot hide.

e. Ex. 32:23 But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the LORD, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.

4. Because of this disobedience "the LORD was very angry with the Israelites."

a. To say that God was very angry with them is a bit of an understatement.

b. The Hebrew literally means that His anger burned against them.

c. Illustration: It’s kind of like the commercial where the guy is sitting there reading the news paper, and his wife comes in wearing a new dress and asks that fateful question "Does this make me look fat?" The husband, in a state of deep concentration says, "You bet ya’!"

5. Consequently, the Lord removed His blessing from them, and the results were disastrous.

6. Joshua sent out spies to check out Ai. When they came back they told Joshua, "It’s a small town, and it won’t take more than two or three thousand of us to destroy it. There’s no need for all of us to go there."

a. Unbeknownst to them, they no longer were functioning in the blessings of the Lord.

b. Their conquest of Jericho had caused them to be overconfident and arrogant.

c. In the next chapter, we will see that the second time around Joshua took ten times as many soldiers just for the ambush (Butler, 84).

7. The combination of the removal of God’s blessing and their arrogant spirit caused them to be soundly defeated, "and their courage melted away."

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