Perry Duggar |

Disobeying God destroys the sinner and damages the innocent.

Promises and Power - Message 6
Perry Duggar
February 12, 2023

I. Introduction: We continue our message series, Promises and Power.

  • Joshua 6:17-19. C/R: Deuteronomy 20:10-18; Luke 6:46
  • God provides the power necessary to fulfill His promises to us.

A. Today’s message is entitled, Disobedience.

  1. Joshua 7:1 (NLT)— …Israel violated the instructions about the things set apart for the Lord.
  2. The instructions: Joshua 6:17–19 (NLT)— 17 “Jericho and everything in it must be completely destroyed as an offering to the Lord. [but spare Rahab and her household.]…”
    18 “Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed [Hebrew cherem, devoted to God for destruction] , and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel. 19 Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the Lord and must be brought into His treasury.” [given to God’s use, offering]
  3. This morning, we will consider the consequences of disobeying God’s direction.

B. Disobedience of God’s direction… (Joshua 7:1-26)

1. Injures the innocent. (Joshua 7:1-9. C/R: Deuteronomy 23:14; 28:15,25; Proverbs 15:27; Ecclesiastes 9:18)

  1. Joshua 7:1 (NLT)—But Israel violated [Hebrew mâʿal] the instructions about the things set apart for the Lord. A man named Achan had stolen some of these dedicated things, so the Lord was very angry with the Israelites. … [Hebrew mâʿal, describes adultery, violation exceeded theft; it was spiritual adultery against God for breaking rules of cherem. 6:17]
  2. Joshua 7:2-5 (NLT)— 2 Joshua sent some of his men from Jericho to spy out the town of Ai [27-acre site, 15 miles from Jericho] , east of Bethel, near Beth-aven. 3 When they returned, they told Joshua, “There’s no need for all of us to go up there [1,700 feet ASL] ; it won’t take more than two or three thousand men to attack Ai. Since there are so few of them, don’t make all our people struggle to go up there.” [No mention of God; over-confident, even arrogant, seem to be proud of their ability after defeating Jericho.]
    4 So approximately 3,000 warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated. The men of Ai 5 chased the Israelites from the town gate as far as the quarries, and they killed about thirty-six who were retreating [!] down the slope. The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events, and their courage melted away. [like Canaanites; 2:1; 5:1]
  3. This defeat and the loss of 36 warriors shocked and traumatized Israel because they had suffered no casualties against a much larger, more imposing force at Jericho.
  4. Israel lost, not because of the skill of Ai’s soldiers; they lost because they angered God (7:1), so He did not fight for them—and may have enabled Ai to defeat them!
  5. Israel forgot that God defeated Jericho; it was a spiritual battle, more than a military one!
  6. [From regulations given to Moses.] Deuteronomy 23:14 (NLT)— “The camp must be holy, for the Lord your God moves around in your camp to protect you and to defeat your enemies. He must not see any shameful thing among you, or He will turn away from you.”
  7. Achan was the actual sinner, but all of Israel was held responsible for sin in its midst.
  8. Joshua 7:6-9a (NLT)—6 Joshua and the elders of Israel [heads of families; served as judges] tore their clothing in dismay, threw dust on their heads [sign of mourning] , and bowed face down to the ground before the Ark of the Lord until evening. 7 Then Joshua cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, why did You bring us across the Jordan River if You are going to let the Amorites kill us? [Reference to all of Canaan.] If only we had been content to stay on the other side! 8 Lord, what can I say now that Israel has fled from its enemies? 9a For when the Canaanites and all the other people living in the land hear about it, they will surround us and wipe our name off the face of the earth. …” [whining!]
  9. Joshua feared this defeat would embolden enemies, resulting in the total defeat of Israel.
  10. Joshua 7:9b (NLT)— “And then what will happen to the honor of Your great name?”
  11. Joshua challenged God—then appealed to His reputation—His promise to bring Israel into this land. (Moses used same argument to prevent Israel’s destruction; Numbers 14:15).
  12. Joshua was convinced by the words of the scouts; it doesn’t appear that he asked God.
  13. APP.: Spiritual leaders must always seek God’s direction for every new challenge!
  14. Achan’s sin harmed his people, led to the death of 36 warriors, and later, his family.
  15. One person, living in sin, disobeying God, disregarding His direction, will damage many.
  16. One person living immorally, hurts whomever he directly involves, but also harms everyone who cares about him. (Ex.: Adultery destroys families, wounds children for life; addiction creates anger, fear, dishonesty, mistrust, which spreads to other relationships.)
  17. We are one body in Christ (1 Corinthians12:12-27); we depend on each other to seek Christ and live by faith, so what one of us does affects the others.
  18. My faith or lack of faith, influences yours and yours influences mine. (Prevent revival?)
  19. APP.: Are my actions affecting innocent people negatively?

Disobedience of God’s direction is…

2. Immediately known by God. (Joshua 7:10-15. C/R: Jeremiah 16:17; 23:24; Romans 2:16; Hebrews 4:13)

  1. Joshua 7:10-12a (NLT)— 10 But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? [Rebuked Joshua, then explained reason for defeat.] 11 Israel has sinned and broken My covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for Me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. [forbidden; Deuteronomy 7:25–26).] 12a That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. [God didn’t fight for them!] For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction.”
  2. God held all of the people responsible, though only Achan stole the items!
  3. The principle of cherem was known by all the people (Moses’ at Deuteronomy7:2; 20:17), so this offense was a violation of God’s covenant (His agreement and promises) with them.
  4. God’s words were threatening: Either Israel obeys God’s command regarding cherem, or Israel will become the cherem set aside for destruction. (All held responsible!)
  5. When God assured Joshua of victory in Canaan, He made it clear that the people must obey all of the instructions given to them by Moses. (Joshua 1:7–8)
  6. Joshua 7:13-15 (NLT)— 13 “Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. [bathing, washing clothes, abstaining from sex; Exodus 19:10-15]
    For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.”
    14 “In the morning you must present yourselves by tribes, and the Lord will point out the tribe to which the guilty man belongs. [how?] That tribe must come forward with its clans, and the Lord will point out the guilty clan. That clan will then come forward, and the Lord will point out the guilty family. Finally, each member of the guilty family must come forward one by one. 15 The one who has stolen what was set apart for destruction will himself be burned with fire, along with everything he has, for he has broken the covenant of the Lord and has done a horrible thing in Israel.” [Frightening!]
  7. Achan, and all he had, became cherem, set apart for destruction, for stealing the cherem.
  8. An important point for us is that God saw everything; nothing was hidden from Him!
  9. Hebrews 4:13 (NLT)— Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.
  10. APP.: Are we aware that God sees everything? Do we live with that awareness?

Disobedience of God’s direction…

3. Indicates distrust of God. (Joshua 7:16-26. C/R: Matthew 6:33; Romans 2:5–6; Hebrews 13:5; James 1:14–15)

  1. Joshua 7:16,18 (NLT)— 16 Early the next morning Joshua brought the tribes of Israel before the Lord, … [v.17: tribe of Judah singled out, then clan of Zerah, then family of Zimri] 18 and Achan was singled out.
    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.” [Confession demonstrates God is correct; He is Right!]
  2. We glorify God when we speak truth, dishonor Him when we lie!
  3. Joshua 7:20-21 (NLT)— 20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 Among the plunder [reclassified dedicated things; Isaiah 5:20. APP.: Do we reclassify sin?] I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon [Shinar] , 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound. I wanted them so much that I took them. [James 1:14] They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.” [Taking only small items he could bury revealed his guilt.]
  4. What Achan stole was worth about what an average worker would earn in a lifetime.
  5. Israelite warriors were allowed to take plunder from the conquered (Numbers 31:11–12).
  6. However, when designated as cherem, everything belonged to God (Joshua 6:17). [Are we?]
  7. Achan did not trust God to provide his family’s needs, though they had been sustained in the wilderness, brought safely across the Jordan River and given victory at Jericho.
  8. Achan disobeyed God to possess wealth he couldn’t even enjoy; he would have to hide it, but had he waited, he would’ve been given spoils from other cities in Canaan.
  9. Joshua 7:22-23 (NLT)— 22 So Joshua sent some men to make a search. … 23 They took the things from the tent and brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites. Then they laid them on the ground in the presence of the Lord. [Entrance of tabernacle, God’s abode.]
  10. APP.: How was Achan feeling? How would you?
  11. Joshua 7:24-26 (NLT)— 24 Then Joshua and all the Israelites took Achan, the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, tent, and everything he had, and they brought them to the valley of Achor [from Hebrew akhar, “to bring disaster.”] 25 Then Joshua said to Achan, “Why have you brought trouble on us? [all of Israel] The Lord will now bring trouble on you.” And all the Israelites stoned Achan and his family and burned their bodies. [Family members must’ve been involved or not punished; Deuteronomy 24:16.] [Destroyed for what Achan refused to destroy.] 26 They piled a great heap of stones over Achan, which remains to this day. That is why the place has been called the Valley of Trouble ever since. So the Lord was no longer angry. [Stones reminded Israel of consequence of unfaithfulness to God.]
  12. APP.: Do we live as though we don’t trust God, so we selfishly provide for ourselves?

Memory verse: Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)— People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

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