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Joshua 7: Hidden Sin Revealed

In Joshua 6:18 we saw the Lord tell Joshua that no one was to take any "accursed thing" when they took Jericho.  The word Accursed here means "things which should have been utterly destroyed."  The word utterly means "completely, without qualification, absolutely."  The Lord made it clear the Children of Israel were to take nothing except what the Lord designate for them to take, which was precious metals and other treasures for the storehouse of the Lord.  

Chapter 7 opens with this:

Joshua 7:1  But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel.

Notice the verse says the Children of Israel (collectively) committed a trespass when Achan (individually) took of the accursed things.  By doing so, the Lord's anger was ignited against the Children of Israel.  Without knowing any of this, Joshua sent two men to spy on the next city they were to conquer, Ai.  The two men returned to Joshua and tell him not to send too many men and tire everyone out because the people of Ai were few.  So, Joshua only sent about 3,000 men.  The "few" people of Ai defeated those men.  Joshua fell to his face and cried out to God.  God says:

Joshua 7:10-13  So the LORD said to Joshua: "Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face?  (11)  Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.  (12)  Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.  (13)  Get up, sanctify the people, and say, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: "There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you."

Joshua receives further instruction on how to deal with the transgressor and begins his search for the violator.  The man who took the accursed items not only was guilty of violating the covenant God had made with them, but when he did so, he sought to keep secret what he had done.  He buried the spoils in his tent underneath the ground.  He had stolen, then decieved, the others and by doing so Achan sought to cover up his sin.  The violation was so great in God's eyes that He told Joshua that He could no longer be with Him if Joshua did not remove the accursed things and the transgressor.  Hence the defeat of the Children of Israel at Ai.  

Don't we try to do what Achan did and bury things deep within our hearts so they won't be seen or found out by others?  We attempt to hide our transgressions behind masks so that no one will know that we have in fact violated our relationship with God, the Father.  When Jesus died, He fulfilled the law that God had given Moses.  The Law could not offer absolution and forgiveness for sins, but the mercy of a Father by offering His only Son, could.  By fulfilling the law, everything became a matter of the heart.  

Proverbs 23:7  For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. "Eat and drink!" he says to you, But his heart is not with you.

The verse above doesn't say "as he thinks in his mind."  It says "as he thinks in his heart."  What are we trying to keep hidden from the world...or even from God by burying thoughts in our hearts?  

Proverbs 4:23  Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.  

Please note that in the verse above it would appear to be our responsibility to keep, or guard, our hearts from danger.  It is up to us to determine what goes into our hearts.  What goes in is what comes out.  Proverbs 4 goes on with how to guard your heart:

(24)  Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you.  (25)  Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you.  (26)  Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.  (27)  Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.

Looking straight ahead and ignoring distractions keeps our eyes on Jesus as we follow Him.  Pondering the path of our feet simply means to consider or to weigh the way in which we are going.  The importance of pondering the path of our feet is to let our ways be established. When our ways are established by God, they remain in us and are born out of the incorruptible seed He has placed within us.  

Psalms 119:105  Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

We know how to walk, where to walk, where to keep our eyes fixed and how to guard our hearts when we allow the Word of the Lord to be the light in which we choose to see.  We can't do any of this alone, though.  The Children of Israel found that out the hard way by loss of life through battle.  God knows what is in our hearts and He knows when we are trying to hide something from Him.

Jeremiah 16:17  For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes.

He will also see to it that it comes to light.  Jesus said,

Luke 8:16-17  "No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light.  (17)  For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light."

Just as with Achan, sin will be revealed.  No matter how hard we try to hide and cover up what we are doing and the things we are hiding within our hearts, God will see that it is revealed.  We have no secrets from an omniscient God that searches our hearts. 

Romans 8:27  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

The Children of Israel exprienced defeat because of the sin buried within their camp.  God did not go with them for the first battle of Ai because of that sin.  We cannot transgress the Will of God and His statutes without facing consequences.  Paul told the Romans the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  What are you harboring in your heart today that is preventing you from claiming the victory that is yours in Christ Jesus today?  

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This post first appeared on Living In The Word, please read the originial post: here

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Joshua 7: Hidden Sin Revealed


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