SIN’S HEAVY COST
Irvin Wasswa- Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
7 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 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. 3 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.” 4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, 5 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. 6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”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 16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 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.” 22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. 23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the Lord. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 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.
The people of Israel had just entered into the promised land led by the great leader Joshua son of Nun. In chapter 6 they saw the Lord do the miraculous by penetrating the impenetrable city of Jericho by simply marching around the city and shouting when the Lord told them to shout. They had conquered the impenetrable city and now had what they considered an “easy” battle on their hands in Ai. However, it was quite the contrary. The Israelites were driven out of the land and several were killed in battle.
As we see here in Joshua 7, the reasoning for the Israelite’s defeat in battle was the disobedience of a man named Achan. The command from the Lord for the Israelites while conquering the promised land was to not take any of the belongings from the cities they were to conquer. Achan disobeyed the command, thus disobeying the Lord and his decision turned out to be quite costly in the end.
Friend, sin indeed does have a great cost; Sin separates; sin divides; sin has consequences; Listen, sin indeed is a big deal as it grieves the very heart of God. Romans 3 tells us that because of our sin we miss the mark and do not measure up to God’s holy standard. Romans 5 tells us that the penalty of our sin is death…Oh but thanks be to the Love of God in sending Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin on the Cross! Now in Christ we are forgiven and free. However, as followers of Jesus, we must understand that the temptation to disobey God is still ever real for us. We must choose to resist temptation and walk in the victory we have in Jesus over sin because sin does indeed have a heavy cost.
Two truths regarding the realities of sin from Joshua 7 for us:
- Your sin affects not just yourself but others– Listen child of God, your decision to act in that lustful thought toward someone other than your spouse, that decision to lash out in anger over that person on social media, harbor that hate in your heart does not just affect you, but affects others as well (family, friends, neighbors). Your sin burns bridges and breaks the hearts of those around us. We must understand that reality and get real about our sin.
- Don’t try and hide/manage your sin– As we see here with Achan, he tried to conceal his sin. He figured no one would find out. The harsh reality is that what we try to hide in the dark will come to light. We ought not try to conceal our sin, but confess it to the Lord. As the old saying goes: What we choose to cover, God uncovers; but what we choose to uncover, God covers. 1 John 1:9. If we choose to confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Hallelujah!
As we know until we are called home to be with the Lord, we are still going to be wrestling with temptation and sin in our lives. Instead of using that excuse as a means to be content with walking in sin, the call for us is to combat temptation by being vigilant in prayer. When we do stumble, instead of concealing our sin, confess it to the Lord and those close brothers and sisters in the faith so they can be praying for you as well.
Sin has a heavy cost if we choose to continue to walk in it. However, may we rejoice today that in Christ the power of sin is broken (1 Corinthians 15) and that we can walk in victory. Let us choose to walk in victory, keeping our eyes on Jesus–the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for today. Thank you for your love in sending your Son to die to pay the penalty of our sin. Help me today to see the realities of how heavy the cost of sin truly is. Help me to never be content in living in sin, but instead choose to confess it to You, knowing that because of Your grace there is forgiveness. Help me to be vigilant in avoiding temptation, knowing that in You I can resist. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”