Joshua 7:1-15 (Part 3) – Saying That A Sin is No Longer Sin Doesn’t Get Rid of Its Consequences

Posted: June 8, 2017 in Book fo Joshua
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Joshua 7:1-15 (Part 3 of 4)

Ai Defeats the Israelites

Sin has its consequences. Just look at our society. We tolerate sin now that was not tolerated by a society as short as a generation ago. We call it enlightened reason now.

 

Multiple marriages among heterosexuals is considered commonplace. Tired of your wife or husband. Get a new one. It is how we feel that is important. If you and I are dissatisfied with our marriage, we have affairs and we get divorced. We don’t care about the consequences of that. Adultery is a sin no matter how you slice it. God has made that pretty clear in His Word. There are no occasions where adultery is given an OK by God. The result of adultery and multiple marriages is that we have children being raised, typically, by single moms. They have been left burdened with raising children in ways that they were not equipped by God to handle alone. Moms are forced to be moms and dads all rolled up into one and moms are simply not wired for the dad role. US Census bureau statistics reveal that 80% of single parent homes are headed by moms. Today, you have to have a diagram to see what kids belong to what parents because of differences in last names. Sons of single mom homes are twice as likely to get into trouble with the law. Daughters of single mom homes are twice as likely to engage in sexual activity before age 16 and twice as like to become pregnant before graduating high school. Statistics for single dad homes are only slightly better but such homes are rare because men seemed to have vacated their responsibilities for parenting once a divorce occurs. Where are the fathers? The sexual revolution, the break with the old-fashioned moral absolutes of the Bible about sex, has had its consequences on our society. We have moms doing jobs of fathers that they are not equipped to handle and fathers have found pursuit of sex more important than parenting.

 

We live in a society now that glorifies male sexual conquests? Why get married these days? Sex before and sex outside of marriage is commonplace. Our music and our television shows and all forms of media blast us with the fact that sex outside marriage is not only OK but it is glorified. Listen to any popular music radio station today and the songs are about sexual conquests and how many babes you can bag. We have sexualized women to the point that they dress in such provocative ways that we wonder why there is so much sex outside of wedlock. There is a generation of women being culturalized to believe that sex is the measuring stick of their value in the world. In today’s world, a second date means sexual intercourse, if not on the first date. Sexual intercourse is a recreation sport in Western culture. The sexual revolution of the 1970s has evolved into what we see now among generations of men and women. The fallout is broken homes, children of divorce, increased crime rates among boys from fatherless homes, increased sexual activity and pregnancies among teen girls. But we are enlightened! Sexual freedom is what we were after and anything less than that is old fashioned and square.

 

Don’t get me wrong as a person who is standing in sanitized bubble and preaching because I have some moral high ground. I am a product of this society of heterosexual freedom. Affairs and divorce and single parent homes are just as prevalent among Christians as the general society. Sex outside of marriage is just as prevalent in Christian circles as it in the general population. I was no different. I rationalized away or just plain out ignored the portions of the Bible that condemned fornication, adultery, and divorce. When I look back on my sexual conquests of the past that were not in the confines of marriage, I feel ashamed that I actually rationalized it away as OK. Three of those relationships ended up in marriage but think of the ones that did not. Those broken relationships leave scars on us all especially our children. How can we preach to them about not having sex with their latest boyfriend or girlfriend if we have had a sordid sexual history often played out before their eyes, metaphorically speaking? But we are enlightened!

 

Another form of sexual relationships that has become en-vogue. Homosexuality is clearly stated as a sinful sexual activity just as much as fornication and adultery in both the Old Testament and the New. Even Jesus himself said that marriage is between one man and one woman. But now it is enlightened to say that it is OK. Anyone who steps out against homosexuality as being sinful behavior is blasted as being a cultural Neanderthal. Homosexuality has become so commonplace now and so accepted by society that the government has legally sanctioned marriages between people of the same sex. And this right is a protected right and any abridging of it is a discriminatory offense. We have gone so far as to say that it is OK to raise children in homes where the marriage partners cannot produce children on their own because they are of the same sex. The homosexual community will spout statistics of how children of gay marriages are no different than children from intact biological family units. And there are studies, too, that say just the opposite such the study by Mark Regenerus of the University of Texas. That study found that children of gay parents have more sexual partners as teenagers than children of biological heterosexual parents. They four times more like to become homosexual or bi-sexual. They are significantly more likely to have been sexually abused in some way. But my contention would be that it is really too soon to draw statistically valid comparisons since adoption by same sex parents is such a recent phenomenon. We will not know the impact for another generation. My contention though is as with the heterosexual “sexual revolution”, the impact of gay marriage and gay parenting will not be entirely positive and the subtle social effects will be dealt with by churches, governments, medical community, etc. Society will pay these costs not because we call these sinful behaviors but because we call it enlightened.

 

That idea of sin having its consequences is what I thought of this morning as I read through Joshua 7:1-15 for the third of four times that we will read through it. Let’s read it together, now:

 

7 But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things[a]; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri,[b] the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.

 

2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and spy out the region.” So the men went up and spied out Ai.

 

3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” 4 So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.

 

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?”

 

10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

 

13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.

 

14 “‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the Lord chooses shall come forward clan by clan; the clan the Lord chooses shall come forward family by family; and the family the Lord chooses shall come forward man by man. 15 Whoever is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done an outrageous thing in Israel!’”

 

In this passage, for this morning, we must ask the question, “Why did Achan’s sin bring judgment on the entire nation?” Although it was one man’s failure, God saw it as national disobedience to a national law. God needed the entire nation to be committed to the job they had agreed to do – conquer the land. Thus, when one person failed, everyone failed. If Achan’s sin went unpunished, unlimited looting could break out. The nation as a whole had to take responsibility for preventing this undisciplined disobedience. Achan’s sin was not merely his keeping some of the captured goods, but, more importantly, it was his disobeying God’s explicit command to destroy everything connected with Jericho. Achan’s sin was indifference to the evil and idolatry of the city, not just a desire for wealth. God would not protect Israel’s army again until the sin was removed and the army returned to obeying Him without reservation. God is not content with our doing what is right some of the time. We are under orders from Him to root out any thoughts, practices, or possessions that hinder our devotion to Him.

 

In our society today, we do not really see the problem with our society is the breakdown of the family. We call recreational sex good. We call homosexuality good. We call multiple marriages good. We call homosexual wedlock good. All in the name of enlightenment and the pursuit of self! The values of the past are old-fashioned and binding to the free expression of who we are. We want to do what we want when we want and how we want. In order to do that, we must erase certain specifically identified sins as not being sins anymore. We logically breakdown the Bible as being old fashioned and that a belief in an extraterrestrial God is simply foolish. We have to do this because if we admit His existence then we have to admit that there are sins. Even if we admit there is a God we have made Him in to our buddy that simply wants us to be happy and fulfill our most passionate desires. He no longer is a God who has standards of behavior. Everything we do is OK by Him.

 

The consequences of sins of heterosexual promiscuity are everywhere and are well documented after two generations of heterosexual free love. It is alarming. Add to that the homosexual revolution of this generation will have its effects that we will only begin to see in the next generation.

 

The point here is not that I am some sexual prude. I have participated in this society’s brand of sexual freedom and the consequences of it all on my own life are profound. What I am saying here is like Achan rationalized away a direct order from God and called a sin not sin and it had mighty, mighty consequence on his life. As Western culture and particularly in America, we are just beginning to see that calling things that are sins no longer sins has had and will continue to have its consequences on our nation.

 

It is Isaiah 5:20-21 that says it most clearly, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!”

 

May we one day as a nation and a culture realize that we have sinned. May we not rationalize our sexual sins as good. May we realize the consequences of saying that which is evil is no longer evil. May we realize that God did actually have our best interest at heart. May we be a nation that no longer hides its sins but admits them to the Lord and repents and turns away from them. May we be a nation that sees God not as our enemy but as our Father who wants the best for us and obey Him out of love and honor. May we quit shaking our fist at Him as disobedient Achans who rationalize away our sins as no longer sins.

 

Amen and Amen.

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