The Man Who Loses the Battle of Life
Saturday, April 13, 2013
“And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: when I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it” (Josh. 7:20–21).
Scripture Reading: Joshua 7:1–26
The arrival of Israel in the Promised Land was a success story. The Israelites had crossed the Jordan victoriously, had met God at Gilgal, and had conquered Jericho. When we come to Joshua 7 we find Israel in retreat and in defeat and Joshua on his face before God, filled with dismay and crying out to God for an answer:
Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name? (vv. 7–9)
God answered Joshua’s prayer:
And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. (vv. 10–12)
Achan was the man who caused Israel to lose the battle of Ai. He is mentioned three times in the Bible and always with reference to the defeat at Ai (Josh. 7; 22:20; 1 Chron. 2:7). He not only caused Israel to lose their battle in the conquest of Canaan, but he lost his own battle with life.
God does not want his children to lose the battle of life. He wants us to be victorious. Why did Achan lose?
1) The man who is covetous loses the battle of life.
Achan said: “I coveted them” (Josh. 7:21). The tenth commandment is a prohibition of covetousness. Paul pointed out that covetousness is idolatry (Col. 3:5). Covetous persons give themselves to wrong appetites, wrong desires, and wrong intentions.
Achan gave himself to covetousness, to gaining this world’s goods. He sought that which it was not right for him to have. He was a covetous man, and his covetousness is one of the reasons he lost the battle of life.
2) The man who disobeys God’s commands loses the battle of life.
Joshua had given to Israel God’s commands concerning Jericho (Josh. 6:17–19; 7:11). Jericho and all that was in it were to be devoted to the Lord. The people were to be put to death with the exception of Rahab and her family. The Israelites must have faced great temptation in having to destroy so many valuable things instead of taking them for themselves, but God had given his commands, and they were to be obeyed.
Achan disobeyed God and took of the spoils of Ai that were set apart by the Lord.
3) The man who transgresses God’s covenant loses the battle of life.
God had made a covenant with Joshua and Israel for the seizure and capture of Jericho. The covenant must be kept. Everything in Jericho was to be devoted to the Lord. All living beings were to be slain. The destructible materials were to be burned, and the indestructible materials were to be consecrated to the service of God. The sin was more than an act of disobedience; it was a violation of the divine covenant.
The sin of Achan was a sacrilege, a robbery of God, an impious seizure. The secrecy with which the sin was committed was a defiance of the omniscience of God. Achan violated God’s covenant with Israel.
4) The man who steals from God loses the battle of life.
Achan took that which belonged to God: “Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I have commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen” (Josh. 7:11). The fact that God had condemned the property and consecrated the metals should have kept Achan from stealing the property.
Sin deprives God not only of silver and gold, but of honor, love, service, and talents.
What are you taking from God? Are you taking the tithe? Are you taking time set aside for the worship of him?
5) The man who is untruthful loses the battle of life.
The King James Version says Achan “dissembled.” The New International Version translates the word as “lied.” The word means “to act deceitfully, to play the part of a hypocrite.” Achan acted untruthfully; he acted a lie.
Victories in life are won by people who are truthful before God.
6) The man who serves self rather than God loses the battle of life.
The trouble with Achan was that he wanted to serve self rather than God. He was more interested in his own desires than the desires of God. What he wanted was more important than what God wanted. He was not fully committed to God and God’s way.
You will not win the battle in life as long as you serve self. God’s desires must be considered. The accursed thing must be taken away. Everything done must please God and must be done for God’s glory.
7) The man who dishonors God’s name loses the battle of life.
Joshua felt that what Achan had done would dishonor God’s great and precious name. “And what wilt thou do unto thy great name?” (Josh. 7:9).
No person can sin and glorify God’s name. No person can sin without affecting others. No person can grow cold spiritually without lowering the temperature of those around. That person will either honor or dishonor the name of God.
Now in Conclusion
Are you winning the battle of life? Are you following God’s will for you and yours? Be an overcoming Christian and win life’s battle.
God bless you, Pastor Mike