Summary: God did not bless the nation of Israel when there was sin and disobedience in their midst. God will not bless the church when they are disobedient to his commands
When God Doesn’t Bless
Joshua 7: 1-26
Intro: Three churches – Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian – worked together to sponsor a community-wide revival. (The revival meetings were a success. New faces appeared, old friends returned, and neighbors were more aware of the church’s presence and programs in the community) After the revival concluded, the three pastors were eagerly discussed the results with one another (over lunch).
The Methodist minister (smiled with utmost satisfaction and) said, “The revival worked out great for us! We gained four new families.” The Baptist preacher (responded with unrestrained excitement and) said, “We did better than that! We gained six new families.”
The Baptist Minister said wow, between the two of us, we have gained 10 new families.
The Presbyterian pastor (surprised his two friends and) said, “Well, we did even better than that! We got rid of our ten families that were the biggest troublemakers (and the church has never been better)!”
. Most issues and problems within all organizations are self made. Churches are not exempt from this principle.
. The Jewish people, the nation of Israel were not immune to these problems either.
. In our scripture today, we will see an example of God not blessing the efforts of his people and why.
.The nation of Israel had just experienced a great battle and had seen the mighty and miraculous hand of God at work.
. Moses had died and Joshua had taken over as the leader of the nation or the Jewish people. With God’s help, they have crossed over the Jordan river into the promised land. The land that God had promised to their patriarch Abraham.
. They had gotten to the outskirts of Jericho and had sent spies out to do recon. They knew that they had to defeat Jericho if they were to go any further.
. Jericho guarded two important entrances into the hill country of the Promised Land. If they did not deal with Jericho, they would have enemies at their backs.
. Jericho was fortified and they needed a way to penetrate the walls of the city.
.God told Joshua to take all his fighting men, 600,000, and march around the city one time every day for six days.
. On the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times and when they heard the priests give one long blast, all the men were to shout and yell as loud as they could.
. They did this and all the walls of the city collapsed and the city was given over to the Israelites.
. Now I could give you scientific reasons as to how this happened but due to time restraints, we are just going to say that God told them what to do, and they did it and they were successful.
. They were given specific instructions from God as to what they were to do with the people and valuables of Jericho. Everything made from silver, gold, bronze or iron was to be saved and brought into the treasury of God. God warned them not to do anything any different.
. Everything went well there at Jericho and they defeated the people of Jericho.
. Everybody in the land heard about this miraculous feat at Jericho.
. The Israelites were getting a reputation as the ones to be feared. They were pleased with themselves and knowing human nature like I do, they were probably getting a little arrogant.
. They could not be stopped. The problem was, the most fearsome and troublesome enemy they faced were themselves.
. You see, their enemy was disobedience and sin within their own camp.
. They had angered God approx. forty years before when they would not place their faith in him and he sent them into the wilderness for forty years.
. They were about to be reminded again what happens when you are disobedient.
. The next town that was in their way was Ai. That is where our scripture picks up this morning.
Joshua 7: 1-5
. 1But Israel violated the instructions about the things set apart for the LORD. A man named Achan had stolen some of these dedicated things, so the LORD was very angry with the Israelites. Achan was the son of Carmi, a descendant of Zimri son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah.
2Joshua sent some of his men from Jericho to spy out the town of Ai, east of Bethel, near Beth-aven.
3When they returned, they told Joshua, “There’s no need for all of us to go up there; it won’t take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don’t make all our people struggle to go up there.”
4So approximately 3,000 warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated. The men of Ai