May 17 I Thursday
1 Chronicles 1-3
“But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them.” —Joshua 6:18
After the conquest of Jericho, one man’s greed cast a dark shadow over the entire nation of Israel. Today we are greatly blessed with the indwelling Spirit of Christ, and there is forgiveness, but we cannot kid ourselves into thinking sin does not grieve God or have its devastating consequences.
Before the attack on Jericho, God instructed Joshua to command the people to keep away from all the silver and gold, the articles of bronze and iron as they were sacred to the Lord. Joshua warned them that taking anything devoted to God would not only bring destruction on them, but on the entire nation. A man named Achan disobeyed and consequently, what should have been an easy victory over the region of Ai ended in defeat with the Israelites retreating in fear.
Once Achan had been found out, he said, “When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath” (Joshua 7:21). Achan saw the plunder, desired them, took them and hid them.
Sin always starts with desire. When we entertain a desire for something outside of the will of God, it soon develops a life of its own, and will not take long for its pull to become stronger than our will to resist. One of the big lies we can go on believing is that we can handle it, but we find ourselves taking every measure to hide it. Anything we need to hide, we can be sure is poisonous. James 1:14-15 says, “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
What Achan did not realize was that he was bringing his sin into the bosom of his family with devastating results. To rid the nation of his sin he and his family were stoned to death and the bodies of his family burned. Sin is toxic and actively destructive. It will spread and hovers like a dark cloud over our heads until it is brought in the open, confessed and dealt with. The judgment on Achan is sobering and a poignant reminder of how sin grieves God. If we are harbouring sin, especially persistent sin, we need to come to the cross of Christ, who bore our sin and makes available cleansing, healing, forgiveness and redemption. Humble repentance is what touches the heart of God and ignites His power within us to deal with sin.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, though these stories are unsettling to read, they are good reminders of how desperately I need You to keep from falling. Thank You for being the source of my security and holiness.