Message from the Monthly Flyer September 2016
Leviticus 5: 5 – KJV – “And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing.“
When we confess our sins and acknowledge our faults, God promises to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He says in 1 John 1: 9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Whoever covers his sins will not prosper, but he was confesses and forsakes them shall find favor with the Lord (Proverbs 28: 13). In the book of Joshua chapter 7, we read the story of a man called Achan who caused the defeat of the people of Israel in the battle against the inhabitants of the town of Ai. It was one of the cities that God had promised to give them as heritage. The Israelites believed that this city could be conquered without difficulty because it was so small. To their biggest surprise, they had to run for their lives because they were beaten by such an insignificant enemy. After this crushing defeat where approximately 36 Israelites died, Joshua and the whole congregation were in deep consternation. Joshua cried out to God to understand why they lost this battle and God revealed to him that disobedience was the reason. Achan who was one of the soldiers who went to the battle against Ai had found some things in the camp of the enemy that he coveted and stole away: a goodly Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight and he had buried these things in his tent to hide them.
Through his infidelity, Achan violated the concept of unity that had to prevail among the Israelites in this project that they started together, and the wrath of God was kindled against him, so that he was punished by death. If Achan had deliberately confessed his sin, God could have been merciful to him and would have saved his life and the lives of his family members. The other innocent men who died in the fight would have been safe too. God had to react strongly against the sin of Achan because the whole congregation had to learn to walk in God’s ways in the land that they were about to take into possession. It is impossible play cat and mouse with God. The wage of persistent sin is death. The family of Achan was also not innocent in this matter and that is the reason why his sons and daughters perished with him too. The Bible says that he had hidden the stolen things in a hole that he dug under his tent. To accomplish such a job, he must have needed the help of his close family members. The Word of God encourages us to denounce the works of darkness and tells us not to participate in the sin of others. If we find our brother in a fault, we should not encourage him to continue in his wrong deeds and we should not ignore it either because by doing so, we make ourselves guilty and God will not leave us unpunished.
When God revealed to Joshua that they lost the battle against Ai because there was sin in the camp and that the one who was guilty had to be exposed, God could have told Joshua immediately who committed an infidelity because He knew already who had disobeyed His commandment. But He purposely chose not to expose Achan immediately because He wanted to give Him the opportunity to repent. But he did not. Following God’s instructions, Joshua then called the Israelites and proceeded in sorting them out by tribes, by families and by households, and thus Achan was exposed. He could have confessed his sin from the very beginning, so that there would have been no need for Joshua and the Israelites to go through this process. Maybe he had hoped that he would not be found but he had deceived himself. Nothing is hidden in the sight of God. Achan was not wise enough to grasp the grace that God offered him and repent while it was still time. His family who was in connivance with him also kept silent till the very last minute instead of acknowledging their sin. Thus they were all burned with their tents and even with their flocks.
If we take a closer look at the things that Achan coveted and stole, we can easily identify with them. The beautiful Babylonian garment represents our desire for opulence, our desire to be admired, to draw the attention on us and exalt ourselves above others. The silver or money represents power; it is the power to do what we want, to manipulate others in doing what we want them to do and get the respect and the consideration of men. It is a mean to achieve one’s ends no matter the cost and impress the people around us. We need money to meet our needs and care for those that are in need, but the love for money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6: 10). Jesus teaches us that the god of money is Mamon and that it is impossible to serve God and Mamon at the same time (Matthew 6: 24; Luke 16: 13). The gold that Achan stole symbolizes everything in our lives that has become an object of adoration. In other words, that gold represents everything in our lives that comes before God and has become an idol. It also represents the desire for opulence and luxury. The sin of Achan is identified with the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life that we see already in the very beginning in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. These things that he coveted are the things of the world. The Word of God says that whosoever loves the world does not have the love of God abiding in him (1 John 2: 15-17).
Our greatest treasure is found in Jesus. We must seek after the things that are above and not the things that are earthly, so that we can secure a lasting treasure in heaven (Colossians 3: 1-2). For the wealth of this world is temporary and will be destroyed. Let us not put our trust in temporary wealth but rather in God who gives us all things in abundance for us to enjoy (1 Timothy 6: 17). Through the story of Achan, God shows us how much He hates covetousness, malice, trickery, disobedience and sin in general. He declares in His Word that disobedience is worse than the sin of witchcraft, as Prophet Samuel told to king Saul who also disobeyed God’s command in the war against Amalek because he was more worried about pleasing men than pleasing God (See 1 Samuel chapter 15). And we know what was the end of Saul who had started well with God. The story of Achan is a call to every one of us to check our lives to find the sins that are hidden in us. We could fall in little things if we allow hidden sins to take root in our lives. It could be resentment or bitterness, anger, envy, slander, doubt, lack of faith or even the works of the flesh mentioned among others in Galatians 5: 19-21. Let us get rid of any filthiness and of sin, so that God will give us the victory over our enemies. We are blessed because the grace that is given to us due to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary is still available and we still have the opportunity to repent today. Today is the day of salvation. Let us not harden our hearts when God corrects us, for tomorrow might be too late. mt
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