Intro: Israel recently participated in a significant military conquest. They witnessed the incredible defeat of Jericho. They shouted, blew their trumpets, and marched around a city thirteen times in six days. The city walls gave way. Without firing a single shot, they conquered Jericho! They continue to bask in the glory of that significant occasion. They are certain that they cannot be defeated. They are certain that every impediment in their way will be removed.
However, the truth about God's displeasure with Israel is made clear in verse 1. Israel believed that everything was in order. They were under the impression that they were just a few wins away from securing complete control over the promised land. In verse 1, the word "but" indicates a shift in Israel's fortunes. They had been greatly blessed and used by the Lord up until this point, but now things have changed! They didn't know that there was a serious issue in their midst, but they thought they couldn't be stopped. A single man among them was posing a threat to the entire God's family. Today, the same scenario still exists. 1 Cor. says that we are all part of the same body. 12:27. We are all aware that when one part of the body has an issue, the rest of the body also suffers. In the body of Christ, the same holds true, 1 Cor. 12:26. Your spiritual temperature has a significant impact on Christ's entire body. You are not an isolated island. The congregation as a whole is impacted by your actions. This fact will be shown to us today in this passage. When I preach this message, I hope that we will reflect on our lives and hearts. If there is anything about us that we believe to be hidden; Before we leave this location today, I want us to settle any issue we believe to be covered with the Lord. This passage demonstrates how we can. The fact of the matter is that there are some things you can't hide. Others will find out if you eat garlic or onions in their raw state. You won't be able to hide that for long if you stop taking a bath or using deodorant. Your orange fingertips will indicate that you have eaten Cheetos. Because your sin will have an impact on both you and those around you, even if you try to cover it up, it will eventually come out. Num. Ill. “...and be sure your sin will find you out,” says 32:23b. Psa. Ill. "Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy face," says verse 8 of Isaiah 90. We are all aware, despite our resistance, that sin leads to difficulties. Both the person who commits the sin and those around them suffer as a result. Throwing a pebble into a pond is analogous. Ill. Song 2:15 The majority of us occasionally resemble Achan. We permit sin to enter our lives; We attempt to conceal those sins; and we attempt to conceal them. We cause trouble and suffering in our lives when we do this. We learn from these verses that some things cannot be hidden. Take note of the information contained in these verses with me. Israel was still reveling in their victory at Jericho when they looked toward Ai. I. vi. 2–5 ISRAEL SUFFERED A TERRIBLE SLAUGHTER A. vi. 2–3 Israel Was A Determined People They were certain that a small town like Ai would not pose any difficulties for such a powerful army. Israel's people were self-assured, but closer examination reveals that their self-assurance was misplaced. In verse 3, they believe that a victory in small Ai requires only a few soldiers. Israel was guilty of basking in their accomplishments in the past. Israel was living in one of the most dangerous times of their lives, despite the fact that they were unaware of it. A dangerous time follows a significant spiritual victory. We tend to be overconfident and believe we can win every battle, Pro, just like Israel does. 16:18. When we think that way, we are about to experience our worst defeat. Ill. Having confidence is good as long as it comes from the right place. We will prevail when we walk with faith in the Lord and hope in our hearts; However, according to 1 Corinthians, we are doomed to failure if we place our trust in our ability and the strength of our flesh. 10:12! B. v. 3-5a Israel Was a People Who Were Defeated: When Israel went up to Ai, they were dealt a terrible defeat, with 36 of their people dying. The Israelites must have suffered greatly from this. Ill. The repercussions of losing. Thirty-six men perished in the camp as a result of sin. Sixty-six children's fathers passed away. Sixty-six mothers experienced son loss. Sixty-six wives perished. Sin had to pay a very high price. It is simple to see that they committed a number of errors when we take the time to examine their actions in greater detail. 1. This passage gives no indication at all that Joshua and the Israelites sought God's will for dealing with Ai. They even did not pray about the situation. God would have revealed the issue prior to people's deaths if they had. Ill. How frequently do we deviate from the Lord and His will? We will plunge headfirst into life and expect the Lord to rescue us from our messes. It is much better to consult God before making a mistake than to wait for Him to fix the mess. 2. The Ark of the Covenant was not brought into the battle by them. The Ark was a representation of God's power and presence. Without God's help, they went into the battle on their own, and they failed! Ill. We could all use some assistance in this area. We attempt to live a Christian life and fight the flesh and the devil on our own, but we repeatedly fail. Why is this? We don't take the time to improve our relationship with God! We can be assured in life's battles and face our adversaries with God's strength when we walk with the Lord and study His Word as we ought to. When we fail to put on all of God's armor, we fall, Eph. 6:10-18. Ill. God or David killed the giant? In 1 Samuel, David himself responds to that question. 17:47. 3. Israel placed their trust in their own strength rather than the Lord. They were guilty of trusting in what they could do, but they were not walking by faith. How many times have we lost because we thought we could handle everything on our own? The job is beyond us! Phil, to experience spiritual victory, each of us requires the Lord. 4:13; John 15:5. 4. Israel was unwilling to give their all to the task that had been assigned to them. Verse 3 reads, "...make not all the people to labor there..." when the spies who went to Ai came back. Ai was about 1,700 feet above sea level. In Gilgal, their camp was approximately 800 feet below sea level. It would have taken about 2,500 feet to get there. The climb would have been extremely exhausting. The Israeli people couldn't understand why all of the fighting men needed to put in so much effort. They did not consider the task at hand to be worth the effort! Ill. We are headed for trouble if we begin to look for ways to escape our responsibilities to the Lord. He is well worth our time and effort. Gal. Ill. 6:9 C. v. 5b Israel Was A Distressed People – Josh, the Israelites are experiencing the same fear as their adversaries following their terrible defeat at the hands of Ai. 2:9; 5:1; 6:1. Sin has many major issues, one of which is this. You feel defeated, abused, and confused as a result. When a believer has sin in his heart, nothing in his life is right! Ill. In your spiritual life, have you ever experienced a time like this? I have, and most of the time, they happen because I let other things take God out of my life. I. Israel was subjected to a terrible slaughter II. From verses 6 to 15, Israel encountered an awful summons. Israel was unsure of what was wrong. They only knew that they had just lost their first game. Moreover, this would be their sole loss! God does not want His people to lose; rather, He wants them to win. As a result, He takes the necessary steps to reveal the source of the issue to Israel. A. v. 6–9 Joshua's Astonishment Joshua finds himself praying before the Lord following this tragedy. v. 6: His prayer comes from a broken heart. Nevertheless, there is also a tinge of resentment and accusation directed at the Lord. Joshua will discover that praying is the best course of action in difficult circumstances. He will also discover that praying won't help him until sin is dealt with, Psa. 66:18; 16b of James 5! Joshua is perplexed as to why Israel was unable to win the battle. Blaming God or questioning His will would not lead to the solution. Their own hearts would hold the answer! Ill. It is too late to assign blame once we have made decisions that have disastrous repercussions. It's never a good idea to blame God for anything. Ill. According to Genesis 3:9–13, this has been going on from the beginning. We need to look within ourselves to find the source of a tragedy in our lives. It is never God or anyone else who is to blame when I lack power in my life; rather, it is always me! The church is the same way. When the church is powerless and souls are not being saved; We need not blame the Lord when the services lack life! He is carrying out his part. Always, the problem lies within! B. verses 10-15 God's Announcement - Joshua and Israel try to figure out what is going on, but God in heaven already knows and tells Joshua about it. He informs him that there is sin in Israel's camp! In verse 12, He informs Joshua that their sin is the reason He has withheld His power and allowed them to be defeated. He explains to Joshua how to identify the culprit. God sheds some light on sin in these words to Joshua. The words that God has to say in these verses need our full attention. Permit me to offer a few thoughts regarding sin and its effects on our lives. 1. Verse 11: "God Knows About Our Sins" – Pro. 15:3; Heb. 4:13 – Nothing is hidden from Him! 2. Verse 11 of Proverbs states that God despises our transgressions. 6:16–19 – It offends Him, and He won't just ignore it! 3. Verse 14-15 of Proverbs say that God has a plan for our sins. 28:13; 1 John 1:9; Psa. 32:5: He wants us to be open about our circumstances. He anticipates confession and remorse. 4. Verse 15 of Gal. says that God will punish our sins. 6:7-8: Rebellion and disobedience always come with a price! 5. Sin always affects those around us; verses 11 and 12 say that no one sins alone. Both my sins and yours have the power to significantly lower the church's spiritual temperature. We are all part of the same body, so what affects you has an effect on me as well! Ill., Ext. 9:18 says, " sinner destroys many things." 6. Verse 12 of Matthew says that sin prevents God from working in His church and in our lives. 13:58: God will not freely and powerfully move among us if we allow sin to rule in our hearts. 7. Sin will be dealt with – verse 13 – Either you and I or God will deal with our sins. They will be dealt with in either case! – 1 Cor. 11:31 Ill. The issue is not caused by the water on the boat's exterior; The problem is caused by the inside water of the boat! The church is the same way. The church frequently faces internal issues rather than external ones. The church can't really be hurt by the world or the devil, but if someone in the church lets go of God's will, there will be problems! You can bet that there is someone in the church who is against God's will whenever there are defeats, issues, and difficulties at the house of God! Most of the time, a sin in the body is to blame when there is a lack of God's visible presence and power in the church! Before God's power and glory ever return, there is an infection that must be discovered and treated! Ill. A company shuts down when it loses too much money. Employees are laid off when a company has too many losses. People go to Hell when a church suffers too many losses! If we are going to experience spiritual success, we need God's power! We must be a clean people if we are to have His power! The amount of harm that a single sinner can cause should never be underestimated. • When Abraham went to Egypt, he almost lost his wife (Genesis 12). • When Jonah disobeyed God and fled, the boat he was riding in nearly sank, Jonah 1. • David disobeyed God by counting the people, 2 Sam. This resulted in the deaths of 75,000 people in Israel. 24. • The church at Corinth was nearly destroyed by a sinner, 1 Cor. 5. Although you may believe that your sin is insignificant, it has the potential to destroy your church and strip it of its power. It can completely ruin your family and devastate them. It can ruin your life and leave you feeling defeated and broken! Ill., Ext. 9:18. Sin cannot have any effect on other Christians or even lost sinners for any Christian. Without lowering the temperature of those around you, you cannot become cold. Every member of the church lives a life that reflects the testimony of the church. I. Israel Survived a Terrible Massacre II. Israel Facing a Terrible Third Summons The method that God used to draw attention to Achan is described in verses 16–26, "ISRAEL EXPERIENCED A TERRIBLE SENTENCE A." verses 16–21, "The Sinner Is Confronted – Ill." Why didn't God just tell Joshua who they were looking for when He knew who was responsible? He was, in my opinion, giving Achan time to confess his sins and repent. Numerous opportunities to confess and apologize were missed by Achan. Nevertheless, God's finger was getting closer and closer until it finally touched Achan. Ill. Pay attention to this lesson! Your sins are already known to God, and His hand is getting closer to your life. He will point out the parts of your life that need to be revealed one day! When God's hand lands on your life, it will only be a matter of time before your sins are exposed! It cannot be kept hidden forever! Num. Your sin will eventually expose you. 32:23; Luke 12:3. Even if you try, you can't cover your sin, Eccl. 12:14; Jer. 16:17; Heb. 4:13! Ill. v. 19–21: It is necessary to deal with Achan's sin now that it has been revealed. Pay attention to the section's two aspects. 1. Verse 19: There Is Compassion: Joshua speaks to Achan with heartfelt compassion. Even though Joshua is aware that Achan will be punished, he still cares about this man who caused so much trouble for Israel. Ill. Joshua is depicted as an image of the Lord in this passage. Even though God despises sin with all of His heart, He still loves the sinner. Even though man is against God, God still tells people to repent and seek His forgiveness and salvation. Remember that God is a loving and gracious God who demonstrates His greatness by cleansing sinners if you are currently sinning. Before it's too late, you need to go to Him! 2. There Is Confession in verses 20 and 21: Achan finally confesses his sin in these two verses. Achan did not appear to be sorry or sorry to himself. He didn't tell anyone about his sins until he was caught in them. They couldn't have been hidden any longer at this point anyway. Ill. Achan is like Pharaoh, Balaam, and Judas in the Bible, who confessed their sins but did not truly repent. Ill. Some people made their sins known and got forgiveness. Ill. David: He was shown his sins, he confessed, and 2 Samuel said that he was forgiven. 12. Jonah 3 and Nineveh also did. What distinguishes the two? In their remorse, David and Nineveh were sincere. They were sorry for their wrongdoings. Achan only regretted being caught! Ill. God does not deal with sin in this way! People should confess their sins to the Lord, Pro, and be open and honest about their transgressions. 28:13. God's plan is for His people to confess the truth that He already knows, taking off the cover of their sins. He can bless someone who deals with sin in a biblical manner. However, whoever tries to cover up his sins will never be successful and will ultimately be judged by God. Clearly, you will at some point confess your sins. You can make the confession where it will have an impact, or you will do it when you stand before the Lord in judgment. Phil, you will confess your sins in either scenario. 2:11. Ill. Pay attention to how Achan's sin progresses in verse 21. I saw, I wanted, and I took. Sin always operates in a similar manner. In the Garden of Eden, this was the case (Genesis 3:1–6). David sinned with Bathsheba in this manner, 2 Samuel. 11:1-4. In nearly every case of sin that you can think of, it is and will always be this way. Take note of the progression that is mentioned in James 1:13–15 of the Bible. You notice it; It piques your appetite; You take it because you want it. Sin is the same everywhere! Ill. According to Gen. 39:12, our response to sin ought to be similar to that of Joseph. 2 Timothy tells us to avoid youthful desires. 2:22. Ill. In v. 21, there is yet another issue with Achan. The things Achan got are referred to as "spoils." This word means "the booty" that an army that wins a battle can take back. These were not spoiled items. Josh was God's word. 6:18–19 that these were His property. They weren't meant to be Israel's presents; They were to be put in the Lord's house's treasury. Josh, God refers to the things in Jericho as "the cursed thing." 6:18-19. That which is "devoted or dedicated" is the subject of this expression. To put it another way, the Lord was to receive all of the things that were left in Jericho following the defeat of the city. They were to belong solely to Him. In essence, Achan committed theft against the Lord. Achan attempted to steal the "firstfruits" that he claimed. Are you liable for defrauding the Lord? Mal. 3:8. Ill. Achan had hidden his stolen wealth in his tent, but he was unable to use any of it! Using it would have made his sin known to everyone. In other words, Achan committed a sin and died in vain! He did nothing good with the items he took! The truly sad part of this story is as follows: Because he used things that had been given to the Lord for his own use, Achan was killed and his family was put to death. Consider how he must have defended his decision to take those items. "We did without so long in that desert," he might have said. I ought to have some prosperity. This small sum will not be missed by anyone. After all, there is a lot of trash. I'll just bring a few items to help my family. Achan spent everything on those few things! Josh, Achan could have satisfied his desires and needs if he had been patient for just a few more days. 8:2. Each of us runs into trouble here. We want what we want immediately. We never stop to consider that if we would only wait for His timing, God might have something much better planned for us. This only serves as a reminder of what sin truly is. Man's illegitimate attempt to satisfy a legitimate need is sin. B. v. 22-26, "The Sinner Is Condemned": These verses reveal the tragic tale's sad conclusion. The Israelites took Achan and everything he owned and stoned him to death. Ill. The stone tower stood as a constant reminder to anyone who passed by that a criminal had been buried there. Even in the 1800s, it was common for people to throw stones at criminals' graves, continually adding to the pile of stones over the grave! It didn't have to come to this! However, these verses demonstrate the terrible end that will befall all sinners who refuse to repent. Moreover, the pile of stones that stood there served as a warning to anyone who came that way. It was a vivid reminder of the severe wrath of God and the high price of sin. Ill. The valley was referred to as "Achor." Trouble is what this word means. And God said that would happen to anyone who took any of Jericho's "spoils." Trouble literally translates to "to stir up." It refers to "the troubled waters." Pro, you must be aware that you are headed for trouble if you are going to sin. 13:15. Ill. If you are a child of God and have committed sin in your life that you have not confessed or repented of, you must be aware that your life is a hindrance to both your family and this church. In addition, you must be aware that God will chasten you in order to bring you back in line with His will (Rev. 3:19). To get your attention, He will do whatever He needs to! Here's what I have to say: today, get right with God! God is not afraid to touch your heart if He knows it will cause you to repent because He knows what it will take to do so. Ill. If you are lost today, you must seek salvation in Jesus. If you die without Him, you will end up in Hell, where you will be forever lost and tormented by fire. Is that your goal? Is that your ultimate destination? If not, then seek Jesus out. Ill. You'll notice that verses 24 and 25 tell us that Achan's entire family went through the same thing. Why? They probably helped him cover up his sin and probably knew about it. He was as guilty as they were. When Achan brought that sin into his tent, he made the people he loved suffer and were afflicted in this world. However, at the end of the day, the fact that Achan did this was due to the fact that he loved himself more than he loved his family. I just wanted to remind you once more that we all sin. We and everyone else around us are impacted by our actions. The things that our children observe in our lives shape them. That is the core of Deuteronomy. 5:9, which reads, "I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of those who hate me." Conc: The same valley was mentioned by the prophet Hosea years later. According to Ill. Hosea 2:25, "And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope:" and she will sing there, just like she did when she was younger and when she got out of Egypt. The possibility exists that this troubled location could open into a door of hope. When Israel returns to the Promised Land during the time that the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, is in power, that will be the time. The same holds true for us. Those sins, which have the potential to cause you so much trouble, can be addressed today if we come to the Lord in humble repentance. If you come to Jesus for the cleansing you require, this service can literally become a door of hope for you right now. You can't hide certain things! God has a cure for Achan heart disease. The Lord can forgive you and restore you for His glory if you have hidden sin in your life. While you still have time, come to Him. Prevent the impending wrath. Come so that your family and church can experience revival and renewal!

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