Blessing Requires A Covenant Relationship

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Joshua 6:16-19 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city. 17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. 18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.

Joshua 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.

This morning I told you …
Blessing requires a covenant relationship with God.
Here’s something we learn tonight …

The Wages Of Sin Always Brings Death.

Israel had marched around Jericho just as God commanded. Once a day for six days Israel followed the Ark of the Covenant SILENTLY, keeping their mouths shut. There was no murmuring – only obedience. In ancient warfare cities like Jericho were taken one of two ways: (1) Siege Engines and battering rams took down gates, then the invading forces lost many warriors as they breached the city’s defenses. (2) If no loss of life was wanted cities were under siege, surrounded until the citizens starved and surrendered. God’s plan to take Jericho seemed odd. No one had ever marched AROUND a city to destroy it. Yet this is what God commanded.

Day by day the people of God marched – once per day – around Jericho. Then on the seventh day:

Joshua 6:15-16 … they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. 16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city.

The walls came tumbling down. Israel went into Jericho and killed all the residents except for Rahab and her family (Joshua 6:17). God told the people “do not take the accursed thing, lest you make yourselves accursed … and make the camp of Israel a curse” (Joshua 6:18).

Our text starts with …

Joshua 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, … took of the accursed thing:

Who Was Achan?

Who was Achan? Was he an absolute unbeliever, a person who loved to sin? The Bible tells us much about Achan in this verse. His name is Achan – which means a “troublemaker”. How odd to name someone that!

Joshua 7:1 … Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah …

Achan is of the tribe of Judah. Judah is the ruling tribe. Both King David as well as King Jesus come from Judah. In the Book of Chronicles Achan is called by a different name …

1 Chronicles 2:7 And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed.

The Strong’s Concordance states that Achar is an alternate spelling for Achan.

Achan’s name spells TROUBLE!

Achan’s father, grandfather, and great grandfather have lived under the lash of the Pharaoh. Achan’s great grandfather and grandfather saw the

rise of Moses
the parting of the Red Sea
the Pillars of Cloud and Fire
the Blood of the Lamb on the homes
the curse and death of the firstborn Egyptian

Achan survived Egypt when he should have died. Achan has enjoyed the grace and mercy of God. He ate that bread of God from Heaven, and was fed quail in the wilderness by God. Achan has drunk deeply of water from the Rock that was Christ. Oh, how blessed Achan was.

Jesus said in Luke 12:48 … he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

God gave Achan very much. Achan also had great sorrow.

Achan buried his parents and grandparents because of sin.
Achan
was circumcised with the other believing men at Gilgal.
Achan saw the walls of Jericho fall. He had no excuse.
Achan helped put the city to the torch.

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall
into the hands of the living God.

The Lord shall judge His people (Hebrews 10:30). God gave Israel Grace not so that she could abuse Him, but so that she could be blessed. But Achan – blessed beyond measure by God – mocked His grace.

Achan took the cursed thing.

What Was The Cursed Thing?

The Cursed Thing Was A Forbidden Thing We’ve discussed Achan. Let’s now look at the cursed thing. What was it? The cursed thing was everything in Jericho. All of the people except for Rahab and her family were accursed. All of the items in the city were accursed. If you remember, Jericho was a “moon” of Canaan, which made it a “moon” that reflected all the evils of idolatry. God wanted Israel to have nothing to do with the things of Jericho. The Bible tells us that:

Joshua 6:24 {Israel} burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord.

The Cursed Thing Was A Hidden Thing Joshua thought that all of Jericho was destroyed except for the metal items that were to be given to the Tabernacle of God. What Joshua DIDN’T know was that Achan took of the accursed thing and hid it in the midst of his family home. The Bible tells us:

Behold, ye have sinned against the LORD; and be sure
Your Sin shall find you out!” (Numbers 32:23)

Unaware of Achan’s sin “Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east of Bethel” (Joshua 7:2). The name of the city עַי ʻAy, (pronounced ah’ee) means “a heap of ruins”. Israel went to a fortified city called “Jericho” which means “the moon”. As God worked through them Israel took that fortified city without the loss of even ONE life. Now Israel is headed to “a heap of ruins”. After defeating Jericho, everyone was confident that Ai would live up to its name before days end. In fact, Joshua was so confident of victory that he presumed on God. We read:

Joshua 7:3 {the spies of Israel} returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.

The Cursed Thing Led To A Presumptive Thing What the spies told Joshua was “this is such an easy win … let’s just take two or three thousand with us, go up, and attack Ai.” What Joshua SHOULD HAVE said was “Let’s ask God”.

Leaders – LEAD
LEAD by LEADING God’s People To God!

When Israel defeated Jericho the LORD was in charge. The LORD told Joshua what to do. But now the SPIES and NOT the LORD are telling Joshua what to do.

Rather than Assume, or Presume,
Better to ASK GOD.

Joshua is listening to the spies rather than to God, a very foolish act. What has God told Joshua to do? Absolutely nothing. God has not spoken about Ai. Joshua has not consulted God. Joshua presumed upon God. He sent 3000 warriors to battle Ai. The results? “They fled before the men of Ai” (Joshua 7:4).

Joshua 7:5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.

Israel was shamed. The Church fell flat on it’s face. God’s people got off lightly – Israel only lost 36 men. But Israel was shamed because 3000 Israelites could not stand to lose to what appeared to be a numerically inferior force. “The hearts of the people became as water”.

Who’s Fault Is It Anyway?

Joshua did something that we often do when we presume on God and are hurt by our presumption. Joshua blamed God.

Joshua 7:7-9 7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! 8 O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?

God was not at fault for Joshua’s presumption. Beloved, God is not at fault when WE do the wrong thing. Joshua should have sought the Lord in prayer before sending forces to Ai. The Lord told Joshua:

Joshua 7:10-11 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee UP; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? 11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.

I want you to notice God did not say “Achan has sinned” but “Israel has sinned”. Sin brings a curse on those around you. Sin brought defeat into Israel. Israel is God’s representative on the earth, just as today the Church is Christ’s representative on the earth. Joshua sinned by presumption. Achan sinned by stealing. God told His people to repent – and recommit to a covenant relationship with Him.

Joshua, GET UP!
Israel, GET UP!
Everybody, let’s LOOK UP!

Joshua 7:13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.

Israel was called to “sanctify or set apart themselves”, to get their hearts right with God. They were to confess their sins. Joshua should get his eyes back on God. The people should get their eyes back on God. The people were told to execute the transgressor of the Law:

Joshua 7:15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.

It was the next day as the children of Israel – by families – rededicated themselves to God, that Achan’s sin was found out. Sin can be hid in the midst of sin. But once Israel got right with God Achan’s sin stood out like a sore thumb. Joshua went to Achan and told him …

Joshua 7:19-20 … Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. 20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done

God Punishes Sin Even Among His People

Joshua 7:24-26 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.

As we read these words we are shocked in our modern sensibilities. In America today we would have put Achan in jail for about 7 years, gave him a cable tv, and three meals a day. Then we would have paroled him. What did God have Joshua do? Achan and his family, with all that he had, was destroyed. We think this harsh. But let us remember that thirty six innocent people died because of Achan’s sin. Israel was made liable to destruction because Achan and his family hid sin in their hearts. We fool ourselves when we think that sin only hurts us. Sin hurts us all. The Spirit of God is hindered when sin is in the heart, buried in the tent. Sin’s effects spread. The Apostle said:

Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

Many young girls started down a wrong road because their mothers allowed them to dress indiscreetly. Many young boys find hidden pornography and are scarred for life. Sin hidden and unconfessed to God becomes out of control. It has a ripple effect that touches others, changing them, perverting what it touches.

Today’s Church says “Well, that was then, and this is NOW. God doesn’t kill people who sin in the New Testament.” No? Do you remember the case of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 who lied to God, and lost their lives because of it. Confess sin to God. Repent. Turn from it.

Note how sin creeps in. Achan said:

Joshua 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

This is how sin brings destruction into the life.

Achan SAW the forbidden.
Achan COVETED the forbidden.
Achan TOOK the forbidden.
Achan HID the forbidden.

James 1:14-16 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

What is sin’s solution? Don’t look at it – make a covenant with your eyes (Job 31:1). Jesus said:

Matthew 5:28 … whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Had Achan controlled his EYES, he and his family would not have died. We have no power with God while sin is in our lives. Let us do as God ha said and:

1 John 1:7-9 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Let us walk “in the light” of God, refusing satan’s horrid gifts. If we sin against God let us not bury it, but confess our sins. We have a Mediator Who loves us, and gave Himself for us. Let us not normalize sin, but REPENT of sin. Remember also the lesson we learn from Achan. After Achan was punished, and sin repented of:

Joshua 8:1 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:

Keep your eyes on the Lord. May God touch your hearts with His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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