Sunday, June 5, 2011

Joshua 7: Defeat at Ai and a CHALLENGE

LINK: Joshua 7


BACKGROUND


Because Achan did not destroy the devoted things "under the ban" when they defeated Jericho, Israel suffered the needless slaughter of 36 soldiers at the hands of the "few" inhabitants of Ai. Joshua's fervent prayer revealed Achan's sin. Consequently, Achan, his "things under the ban," sons, daughters, livestock, and property were all destroyed.


The "beautiful mantle of Shinar" was probably a garment made of fine materials from Babylon. Babylon was famous for its garments that were interwoven with pictures of various colors.


Joshua said Achan has been "trouble" for Israel. The name Achan is believed to mean "troubler," and the Valley of Achor means "valley of trouble."


REFLECTION

I am not going to lie. This passage is hard for me. I have struggled for the last half hour to write words, but they are not coming. Achan did a sinful thing. The punishment was death. Yet, even his sons and daughters were killed for Achan's sin? That is tough. 

Deuteronomy 24:16 says that children are not to be punished for their father's sins and everyone will be punished for their own sin. So, can we assume that they were part of the coveting and cover up and deserved to die along with Achan? I think that we have to since it is a command of God. I have to look at this and trust that God is sovereign, holy, wise, good, loving but also just. 


It is interesting to note that there is no mention of Achan's wife being stoned to death in this passage. We do not know why. Maybe she was not part of it or maybe she was dead.

I also want to look at this and consider where I might be holding on to things that are forbidden and must be destroyed in order to allow all that I have to be totally devoted to Him.


APPLICATION


Are there any thoughts, practices, or possessions that hinder your devotion to Him? Dispose of them promptly!


Here is a fun application: 


JOSHUA WALK CHALLENGE

Challenge: Take a walk around the perimeter of any area that needs to be claimed for Jesus for six days. Then take seven laps around the perimeter on the seventh day. It could be your neighborhood, children's school, courthouse, work place; anywhere you are sensing "spiritual walls" that need to come down.

Come on and get your shoes on!

PRAYER


Lord, we want to be totally devoted to You. You want all of us and when there is sin in our lives, You cannot have all of us. Please root out all those things that are displeasing to You and use us for Your glory. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.


Many Aspire, Few Attain


Things were more important to Achan than people! This reminded me of this principle in Many Aspire, Few Attain:
13. Walk by Faith (or Stay in the People Business) 
In the beginning living by faith has an excitement which is unlike anything else. But after a while, the novelty of it begins to wear off and it begins to seem more desirable to have some security--to be able to count on something rather than trusting God all the time. 
And then, slowly things begin to become more important. What you have, rather than what God can provide becomes your security. We can easily push this to the extreme. One woman I know does not like to have people in her home because they mess it up. If your home, or any of your possessions, become more important than people, you are already out of the battle. God is interested in people, and when our security is in Him, what happens to things is no longer important. If your rugs, sofa and cut glass bowls are more important than people, you will never qualify for the battle.
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