So Achan’s sin had been dealt with. The cleansing God required of his people is quite radical in our minds. A stoning of an entire family! That was how justice was brought about under the law of Moses. While we don’t advocate this any longer since the shedding of blood has taken care of our sin once and for all by Jesus Christ, we do get a picture of how serious God views sin.
God gives us grace so we will have the freedom to obey. It is not the freedom to do as we please.
Speaking to sin can be intimidating. I believe scripture gives us at least two reasons we must call it out. But we must be merciful as God has been with us.
1. If the individual claims to be a believer.
2. If the believer is non repentant.
1 Corinthians 5:12
It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.
Sometimes we don’t like to call someone else to accountability because then we will have to clean up our own lives… and well, that would be painful. So you sin, I sin, we call it a truce. We slap each other on the back and live in our filth and wonder why our lives lack power and our ears cannot hear God. Sometimes we think if we are confessing it that’s enough. I may go to my friends and confess the same “struggle” week after week, month after month, year after year….but I can’t seem to rid my tent of the sin. Is that enough? If Achan had come and confessed but the sin wasn’t removed was that enough? No. I think sometimes we can make confessions without the Godly sorrow that leads us to true repentance. True repentance is the place we recognize the sin we have buried is costly to our soul and our community…whatever that may be.
We live under grace… but it’s not so we can go on sinning. It’s so we can be freed from the captivity of sin.
Grace combined with the Fear of God helps me to realize my master sees all and he will hold me accountable for my actions. This gives me freedom but keeps me from going my own way…to my own destruction.
When someone has repented, we forgive as we have received forgiveness. When we need repentance for our attitudes and actions we humbly Confess our sin and turn away from it.
The second reason we can’t hear from God is found In Joshua Chapter 9.
So the Israelites have found out why God had removed his blessing. They had taken care of that issue and were pressing on. They were headed to Gibeon. Now the people of Gibeon found out they were headed their way and they were S.C.A.R.E.D! So they dressed some men up to look like they had traveled from miles away. They brought moldy, stale bread. Worn out sacks and old wine skins. They came to trick the Israelites into signing a treaty with them. They said….”We have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God.” Joshua 9:9
They proceeded to lie and tell the elders how far they had come and how everything was fresh when they had left home. Joshua 9:14 is the key to our second point…”The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord“.
They didn’t even bother to ask! You’d think after the travesty of losing 36 men and their reputation in the land that they would have wised up. God wanted to direct them. They just forgot to ask which direction to take.
So they sign a peace treaty with these guys who live just miles away from their camp.
How often do I forget to ask directions? I mean really inquire of the Lord. I may throw a prayer up here and there….but ernestly seek the face of God. Pour through the scriptures and spend time silent in his presence as he speaks to me.
What am I afraid of? Am I too busy? Do I have more important matters to attend to? What keeps us from inquiring?
Do I taste the provisions and in my own wisdom it seems okay to proceed but I completely forget to ask my all-wise and knowing Father for his Direction?
And so I make a decision based on human reasoning lacking the wisdom that comes from above.
If I inquire seriously of God and he gives me a freedom in my heart knowing that no matter how this turns out he is with me. A clear understanding that I have heard from him. It’s a joy in the middle of trials. Or a peace of mind in the midst of a tough circumstance. It’s clear thinking and sound rest even in the middle of the storm.
Because just as God promised his people long ago…He will not leave us. He will not forsake us.
After numerous battles up until the end of chapter 11 Joshua directed by God was successful in wiping out the enemy. Foe after foe was defeated. God was mighty and powerful and his name was made famous through his servants. But it wasn’t until they learned some valuable lessons of obedience and trust.
Joshua 11:23 (New King James Version)
23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war.
An inheritance. It’s right there for us. He is waiting for us to Trust and Obey and walk into the battle with him leading the way. The battle may look different for us then it did for Joshua but we are in a battle every day. Until we receive the final inheritance we must be listening with both ears. Our hearts wide open for full examination. We must have feet quick to act when he moves us.
It’s not always easy…But it will bring about the results we desperately want.
Today we seek your face. May we be as Joshua was, on our faces inquiring of you. Give us wisdom that only comes from your hand. We are desperate for your voice. Your touch. Your movement. May you receive all the fame and glory for what you are about to do in and through your servants!
I adore you God of the Jews and now the Savior of Mankind!
Tomorrow I will continue with this topic….Why Can’t I hear you.