Today’s Reading: Joshua 7:1, 1 Chronicles 2:7, Joshua 7:2-9:27
The Story of Ai and Achan
In the last couple of days we read about the Israeli victory at the Battle of Jericho. It was very impressive. God used the manner of victory to remind the Israelites that he is the one making it possible. He did by simply using their obedience and the blowing of horns. God wanted them to know that he was in control and that it was not by their great military leadership that these victories were going to happen.
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 they one day 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. 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 in a few weeks, 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 Wonderful Grace of Jesus