Today’s Reading: JOSHUA 7:1, 1 CHRONICLES 2:7, JOSHUA 7:2-9:27
Today’s reading is somewhat special to me. Why, you ask? There are two reasons; the first is because one of my first sermons ever came from one of today’s stories. The second reason is that the main character of the story reminds me of me. I could have been him and he could have been me. We are brothers in a sense.
When I introduce this sermon I look back on the days when our children are just toddlers. Barely walking, always reaching for things. For my wife and me it sends me back to our little apartment in Forest Park, Ill, USA. We were a young family, working hard to make ends meet. Often I was working a full time job while also doing two part time jobs. My wife was pulling extra duty not only has a homemaker, wife and mother, but also as the neighborhood baby sitter.
I think of our children back then who are born so innocent and cute and huggable. Children that we compare to angels. Sure they made dirty diapers for a living. Sure they cried and wailed. Nevertheless, they were our little angels.
Then one day something changed. This one time angel would reach for something that they were not supposed to. This one time angel would knowingly go against the rules of the house. This one time angel would literally be caught with a hand in the cookie jar. When confronted, their face would immediately go from the ecstasy of having reaching their goal to the sadness of knowing they had disobeyed and failed to follow the rules.
The little angel had somehow learned to disobey and rebel against authority. Ok, I know it was only a cookie. Nevertheless, it was wrong. Who taught my little angel to do wrong? Who came in the middle of night and gave her lessons on how to go against Mama and Papa?
Today’s reading tells us about this capacity to do wrong that we are all born with. No one came and taught our daughter how to go against the rules and disobey. She was born with it.
After the amazing victory at Jericho, the Israelites were over confident. They were told to send the whole army against the next city, Ai. However, due to over confidence they attacked Jericho with a smaller army and a battle that on paper should have been easy was not and the army of Israel was easily defeated.
Joshua sought to find out what happened. How could one day they have an amazing victory by simply walking around and then blowing trumpets and the next time be routed by the little town of Ai?
Through the Lord’s direction Joshua was able to determine that Achan had broken the rules; he had disobeyed.
In yesterday’s story of the battle for Jericho we know that the Israelites were told not to take any plunder for themselves. The gold and silver were to be given to the Lord. The army was not to take anything. Achan was not able to follow the rules. Here is what happens when he is confronted with his sin:
Joshua 7:19 – 21 (NLT)
19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, by telling the truth. Make your confession and tell me what you have done. Don’t hide it from me.”
20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound. I wanted them so much that I took them. They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.”
I highlighted four verbs in Achen’s confession. When confronted Achan says that he SAW, he WANTED, he TOOK and he HID the forbidden objects.
SEE -> WANT -> TAKE – > HIDE
Achan did not invent this pattern of sin. Adam and Eve did. They did the exact same thing. They SAW the forbidden fruit, they WANTED it, they TOOK and ate of it and then they HID in the Garden of Eden. The pattern is still true today. We SEE things we should not, we DESIRE or COVET or WANT them, we take them and then we try to HIDE the evidence. Not only do toddlers do these things, you and I do it also. We are born to be expert practitioners of this pattern. We could easily write books on the topic, or at least blogs. We all do it because we are all sons of Adam. We are born into the sinful nature of ours. Paul’s writing to the Romans helps confirm this:
Roman’s 5:12 (NIV)
12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—
However, thankfully, that is not all Paul wrote. He goes on to say this…
Romans 5:15-21 (NIV)
15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord
The point is this, even though you and I are born sinners, set to repeat an ageless pattern of SEE, WANT, TAKE, and HIDE. There is a new pattern. Just as one man sinned all have disobeyed and suffered the consequences, through Jesus and his obedience to die on the cross for our sins all men can be saved.
We are extremely capable to follow the pattern of sin as demonstrated by Adam, Achan and every toddler and adult we know. However, Christ is even more capable, through His grace, to overcome that sin. As we approach Easter next week, please keep in mind that it was our sins that put him on that cross. Never forget these key verses…
John 3:16 – 17 (NIV)
16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him
Related Post: March 23, 2010 Wonderfull Grace of Jesus