Words of Faith 9-8-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 " 'In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe that the Lord takes shall come forward clan by clan; the clan that the Lord takes shall come forward family by family; and the family that the Lord takes shall come forward man by man.  He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!' "
 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was taken.  The clans of Judah came forward, and he took the Zerahites. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was taken.  Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
 Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me."
 Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done:  When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."
 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath.  They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the Lord.
 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor.  Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today."
Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them.  Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore, that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.
There is no way to soften the terrible end to this story. Achan had stolen some of the Lord's things and hidden them in his tent. This was the one thing that the Lord had given instruction about, and Achan had disobeyed. Achan's sin was evident to the Lord but was still to be revealed.
Many scholars agree that the crime was detected by a technique unfamiliar to us. Each family was called out, and lots were cast until finally, Achan came forward. The technique seems quite foreign in our age of DNA matching, fingerprinting, and fiber analysis, but this was the Canaan Crime Scene Investigation method. Solomon described this C.S.I. process well: "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD" (Prov. 16:33). It proved as accurate as any trace evidence analysis.
The Lord could have simply told Joshua who the guilty one was. Why not? Perhaps He chose this method so that Achan would have a chance to repent of his own accord. Instead, Achan remained silent throughout the entire procedure, as did his family. Surely fear gripped him, and his heart may have pounded furiously as each step brought his discovery nearer.
When finally discovered, Joshua addressed Achan tenderly but firmly, for though Joshua hated the sin, he did not despise the sinner. A public confession confirming the supernatural exposure of the guilty person was necessary, and finally, Achan came clean.
How did this terrible sin happen? The three crucial steps in Achan's sin are familiar: he saw; he coveted; he took. Eve took the same tragic steps in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:6), as did David with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:2-4). These are the points to guard in our own lives-- the temptation of the eyes-- then the heart-- and then the hands. Surrender to the Spirit is the only safe place.
Achan's admission of guilt was not the result of the conviction of the Spirit. He admitted his sin because he was caught. The consequence was very severe.
Why such a harsh punishment? We must realize that this was not a simple case of pilfering. This deliberate disobedience to God breached a covenant. All were aware of and resulted in the death of 36 men in battle. Thirty-six families lost husbands and brothers and sons. His sin was tantamount to espionage resulting in the deaths of countrymen.
And why was Achan's family executed? Probably because they had collaborated in the theft. They had surely been aware of the stolen goods hidden in the tent. Ultimately, they would benefit from enriching their family in this way. The consequence was tragic, but this was a sin that, if repeated, would be the end of Canaan's conquest.
Sin and its consequences are always tragic. Sin separates us from God. Rebellion prevents our walk in the Spirit. The defiance of God hinders the power and protection of God. Sin and rebellion destroy families.
How are you doing in the sin department? It is a good thing to ask the Lord to examine our hearts. Is there anything hidden in your tent? Is there any defiant act that is between you and the Lord? We don't cast lots in the church these days, but the Spirit is loving in His revelation of the things we need to get straight.
Father God, show me the things that You want to change in me. Reveal the sin that You want to get rid of in my life. Give me a spirit of humble repentance. Protect my eyes, my heart, and my hands from sin. In Jesus' name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2005, 2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.