Summary: Leaders who fail to tithe should not be permitted to make decisions governing the body of Christ.
Why Have You Done This To Us?
Robbery in any nation is a serious crime. It can result in various forms of punishment. Some people loose a hand while others spend time in prison. Stealing is also a crime in the Kingdom of God, as we shall see in our lesson today. Historically, the children of Israel marched to Jericho where the city and all its inhabitants were defeated, not by their power but by the Spirit of God. All they had to do was shout unto the Lord. Praise is a powerful weapon against the enemy. They were then told by God not to take any thing of value from that place, because it was devoted to destruction-it was under a ban, and it belonged to God. We have to remember that all that we have belongs to God. He tells us what we can and cannot have. Verse one tells us that ‘the children of God acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, and the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.’ We are told that Achan was the prime suspect. He took something that did not belong to him.
Unaware of Achan’s transgression, Joshua in verses 2-5 only sent three thousand men up the city of Ai because he and the elders were confident that it wouldn’t take the entire military to over throw the city. When the men arrived there for battle, scripture says they were put to flight, and 36 Hebrew soldiers were killed. Even though there were only a few soldiers fighting against Israel they were too many for Joshua’s men. Little problems become big problems when we ignore God, and when we rob God.
Not only did they loose the battle, but they were also disgraced. Everybody knew of their failure because sin was in the camp. Where was God? Where was the favor? Where was the blessing? It’s one thing not to have money and friends but not to have God is a loss beyond value. However, God used their defeat to purge them of sin. We cannot forget that a little leaven leavens the whole lump! One act of sin can change our lives and those around us.
· One man’s sin, as we shall see caused the death of thirty-six soldiers.
o We are all affected by each other’s actions. Social sin. Through the sin of man came death to the entire human race.
· When we rob God of His treasure (our tithes and offerings), our talents and our time we cause others around us to experience defeat. Why have you done this to us?
o Solomon wrote, “Ill gotten gain profits little, but righteousness delivers from death.” What you steal from God will not add to your wealth, but subtract from it.
· As long as the children of God offered what God commanded they were blessed. The same principle applies to us: you will experience defeat when you don’t give what belongs to God.
o Some might say well the economy is bad, jobs are closing down, and that’s true. But we are still told to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things shall be added unto you. No where does it say that Joshua and the Hebrews had jobs from 9 to 5! But they did have God!
· So then the problem facing churches today isn’t always a spending issue but a giving issue. People would rather keep what they have than give it to God to be multiplied.
o Why have you done this to us? Maybe it’s because you really don’t believe in God and His word.
§ If Achan believed God then he would have trusted God, but because he wanted what his eyes saw he became a criminal in the Promised Land. He was carried away by his own lust.
· A robber will always want what you have but won’t do what you had to do to get it. Sad but true, there are those who desire God’s blessings, but are robbing God. It’s insane to think you can have different results when you continue to do the same thing.
o There are some in God’s house with treasures, vehicles, homes etc…not because they are blessed but because they have robbed God to get it and its a curse instead. (See Malachi 2:2)
What can we learn from Joshua when we’ve experienced defeat?
I. Consult God (vs. 6-9)
a. Joshua prostrated himself before the Ark of the Covenant, both he and all the elders. Joshua wanted to know why they weren’t prospering and were defeated. We all have our opinions about why things may not be well, but are we seeking God?
b. The text says they also put dust over their heads, a sign of humility indicating that the noblest part of man, his mind was below the earth from which it came.