I realized later that there are some things I appreciate very small children for, like my daughter Moriah who is almost 3. Largely b/c she does not have the vocabulary and the maturity yet to give excuses or reasons, she confidently expresses her opinion to something by saying, "I don't want to". At least she's honest. Later, as she grows, she'll naturally learn to say something else, to give a reason, an excuse to avoid doing what I or Vicky have told her to do. We adults usually don't even think about our excuses anymore, they just come out when in reality, we're really feeling, "I don't want to."
So anyway, the service was going along, and I knew I was supposed to do something different, I still didn't know what. Then, thanks to a powerful testimony and special music by Angie Bailey, I finally heard what I was supposed to do. It was a slightly different take, angle and main point to the message and passage I had already developed. Points needed to be swapped around and some left out, but it was basically there. I was still however, flying off the cuff, but I really had no excuses considering the testimony of the Word and of Angie.
The basic change was that our excuses keep us living in defeat when our obedience can keep us living in Victory--coming from the account of Achan and his sin just after the Battle of Jericho.
Well, all that to say, here is the sermon I was going preach that God told me to change. If you want to hear the "Live" version, I'm sure it will be up on the church's website soon.
Here it goes.
The past couple of months, we’ve been looking at the life of Joshua and how God was moving him and the people of
Joshua was commanded to devote everything from
First, Achan acted unfaithfully—he took some things that were supposed to be devoted to God. We see Achan’s mind in 7:21—“when I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver (about 5 lbs.) and a wedge of gold weighing 50 shekels (not quite 1.5 lbs.), I coveted them and took them.”
“You know all about the corruption of leadership—Joshua is probably going to horde it for himself.” “What does it matter, it’s not like God really needs the money anyway.”
Joshua was so confident after the tremendous victory at
He neglected to seek God’s guidance when they began approaching the fort of Ai; a much smaller and less intimidating challenge than
I don’t know about you, but this account bothers my sense of American individualism. I’m bothered that God would deal with a large group by the behavior and actions of only one person.
How many of you are glad that we don’t live under that standard? That God blesses or disciplines this church, thus each of us, can be influenced by the actions of only one member.
I do not believe in so-called Victimless Crimes like home drug use, prostitution, or gambling.
One person’s sins will affect others around them. There are so many accounts of wives who have great, loving and caring husbands so long as they are sober.
There are so many accounts of the sins of one drunk driver forever changing a family of 6 while he himself walks away virtually unhurt.
An adulterous spouse brings home suffering to the one who has been faithful all the years of their marriage.
A family goes without food because an irresponsible parent spends most of the paycheck on booze, on cigarettes, gambling or lottery tickets.
Look again how it started in Achan’s life in 7:20-21. He followed the classic pattern from Genesis 3:6.
· First he saw with his eyes. The eyes are the window into the soul. And many of our temptations in life come and start with what we see.
· Then Achan desired and coveted in his heart. What he saw translated to his thoughts and passions. He fantasized about what he did not have.
· Then he put those desires into action and took things he knew he should not, things he even knew the consequences for.
· Lastly, Achan tried to hide and deceive what he had done, even under his own family’s noses.
Tell me, how many affairs do you think start exactly the same way. How many addictions start this way. How many robberies, how many murders, how many lies. Insert any sinful situation in life, and you could trace it back to this pattern.
What you see, you think about, then you act upon, then you try to hide. That’s what makes pornography so dangerous—what makes looking at the advertisements in the paper even dangerous, or the frosted brownies on the counter. Sin doesn’t have to be a “big deal” to be a big deal.
Eve went through the same process when the serpent tempted her with the fruit.
Gen. 3:6—“when the woman SAW that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her.”
James said much the same in James 1:14-15—“but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.”
Sin is also knowing the good we should be doing and not doing it. Husbands, you know to love your wives and not ignore them—are you rationalizing reasons to avoid them? Children, you know to obey your parents is it easy to come up with reasons not to?
Are we too busy to pray, are we too overcommitted that we won’t read or study our Bible?
Knowing the pattern of sin is not enough, because we all will fall—“all have sinned and fallen -ert of the glory of God”. We’ve got to have:
This is the hard part. When you experience defeat in life, you’d better be willing to take a spiritual inventory.
To examine the parts of your life to determine whether any of them have contributed to a failure to hear God’s Voice. And when you discover that thing, you must get rid of it, you must destroy it.
Joshua had to be willing to lead the people to discover the sin in their midst. V. 6 tells us that Joshua tore his robes and lay facedown before the Ark of the Covenant as did the elders of Israel. They knew defeat would not come without reason.
Seeking Him again—and they weren’t in for just a quick fix—Joshua remained there until evening.
Then he listed off the Common Complaints—vs. 7-9—today we should never have tried this—we should just be content with what we’ve always done and what we’ve always had—we should not have gotten our hopes up.
Joshua Confronted all
God restores relationship in order to continue the victory. Joshua 8:1—