Our Choices Have Consequences


GCC Message 3- May 2016

 Joshua 7:1-26  and Joshua 8:1-2

 The defeat at Ai.
Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai. And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.” So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water. [1]

Joshua sends the people to spy on Ai.

It is a very small city; it is not as big as Jericho, Let us just take a small battalion.
They took things for granted.


They assumed it will be a walk over.
 
 
But remember with Jericho, Joshua had to consecrate the people, he had an encounter with God’s Majestic, Commander of the Lord’s army.   Our faith is a daily faith. We cannot depend on yesterday’s miracles to take us through today’s challenge. Last year’s experiences are different from this year’s.

Someone wrote: “The Lord’s Prayer says, “Give us this day, our daily bread”. It doesn’t say monthly, weekly or yearly. Our walk with the Lord is a day-by-day walk and that means that every day we must spend time in prayer, Bible study and meditation upon the Lord. Every day has its new battles.”

There were Defeated.

SHEBARIM 
Meaning to be broken and fractured specifically of dreams. After the repulse of the first attack on their city the men of Ai chased the Israelites "even unto Shebarim" (
Joshua 7:5). The Revised Version margin reads "the quarries"; so Keil, Steuernagel, etc. Septuagint reads "until they were broken," i.e. until the rout was complete. 
Here Israel was broken and routed by the enemy from Ai, the Amorites; their dreams were shattered.

 
THERE WAS SIN IN THE CAMP.
But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel. [2]


HOW DOES SIN TAKE ROOT IN A PERSON’S LIFE?

 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” [3]
 
1.      Achan “saw it

Sin always has its entrance through our eyes and then our minds.
It is looking so intently and you over stay. It is staring.

2.      Achan “desired it

The other word used is to covet:  A strong desire for something.
This strong desire always leads to greed.
Self control is when you speak to your desire no. No. no I will not go there.

3.      Achan “Took it

The taking, the acting on our temptation is sin. 
Every one of us sees, we also desire. But we do not have to sin.
He saw, he coveted, and he took. Sin so often begins with a look that turns into a stare.

4.     Achan “ He hid it”

Sin always leads to shame and that is why we always want to hide it from people.
Shame always takes away our confidence. We cannot act boldly and it usually takes away our faith. Sin messes up our relationship with God and other people.
 
 
    THE RIPPLE EFFECT OF OUR CHOICES
 
 
ALWAYS ASK
1. If I make this choice or continue along this path, how are events likely to develop?
2. What kind of impact will my choice have on my loved ones, the world and me now and in the future?

The answers to these questions should give us a greater awareness of the situation. It will remind us to think of the big picture before we act. 


FIRST- IT AFFECTS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
  • Your sin will affect your family – they will pay a price for your sin
  • Exodus 34:6-7 – “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”
  • Men, if you are faithful, your family will be blessed
  • If you are unfaithful, your family will pay the price

SECOND - IT AFFECTS THE LARGER FAMILY OF GOD
  • It says that Achan took the plunder AND that the Israelites acted unfaithfully!
  • One person broke the covenant, yet ALL of Israel was counted as unfaithful!
  • The second consequence of Achan’s sin was Israel’s defeat at Ai

SIN IS VERY COSTLY
Achan’s sin was so costly. Let us see what taking a robe, a wedge of gold, and a bar of silver really cost!

·         It cost his own life,

·         The lives of his family,

·         The lives of 36 Israelite soldiers. 

·         It cost time from the conquest,

·         Anguish in the heart of Joshua, 

·         Discouragement of the people at a critical time in their history, and

·         The disgrace of a defeat that reflected on Israel’s God!

SOMEONE SAID: The truth is that we can’t afford to disobey God. Disobedience always costs more than obedience. We just pay for it later or in extended installment payments.

WE MUST DEAL WITH OUR SIN

10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. 13 Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the Lord, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.”[4]

We must face our sin, admit it, confess it, repent of it and turn away from it.
For leaders, we must address sin in the house of God, remove the person from place of service for a season and help them to clean up. If they refuse dismiss them.

If you are a boss at the place of work deal with evil even if it is your relative. If you don't it will cost your company dearly.
In our church if we hear that you are not walking right we have to deal with it. Why- We need the blessing of God.

Why? 
“There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.”[5]

Christian life is spiritual warfare, a life of sin is like a soldier who does not have a bullet proof jacket or a shield. It is as if you are walking naked you can easily be shot down by the devil.
We need the Blessing, the covering, the favor of God, to continue the walk.

Sin removes the protection and the blessing.

HE IS THE GOD WHO FORGIVES AND RESTORES

26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor. [6]

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.” [7]
  • The first consequence of sin is punishment – but God has taken that punishment upon himself.
  • “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)
 
Then the Lord turned from his burning anger.
  • The second consequence is that the whole of God’s people are derailed from the great mission that lay before them.
  • When we confess our sins, Christ forgives us AND he restores us, as a church, to the mission, to the great vision, that lies before us.

See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land.


CONCLUSION
1.      Obedience

2.      Think of the Cost before you act.

3.      It is a daily walk.

4.      He is a God of a second chance.





[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jos 7:2–5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jos 7:1). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jos 7:19–21). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jos 7:10–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jos 7:10–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jos 7:26). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jos 8:1–2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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