How to Get Up from a Mess Up
July 25, 2021
Joshua starts with a series of homeruns. The nations looks like they can’t be defeated. As they enter the land, the sea stops in the presence of the ark to allow them to enter. At Gilgal, they make covenant with God, and then at Jericho the miracles just pile on. God Himself came down and took command of the armies of heaven and earth, the wall could not stand int eh presence of God (it’s like the wall bowed) and the city was destroyed.
At the very moment they look undefeatable, Joshua experiences his greatest setback. He rushes into battle at the next city, the entire nation so fired up they fail to seek God. The problem was, there was serious sin and disobedience in their camp. They were not right with God.
John Piper has a book, “Spectacular Sins.” He focuses on how God gets glory out of mans sinful behavior. Of course, the Bible is full of what we would consider spectacular sins; the Tower of Babel, David and Bathsheba, Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, the haircut Delilah gave samson, Jonah’s run from God, and everyone knows what Adam and Eve did… they had dinner with a talking snake! I submit this account as one of the spectacular sins of the Bible.
- Joshua 7:1: The people of Israel broke faith in regard to “the accursed thing.” ESV says “devoted things.” The Hebrew is referring to a thing devoted to destruction.
- Achan means trouble.
- Joshua 7:3: Notice they didn’t even feel a need to send the entire fighting force. They are convinced that they got this one.
- Joshua 7:4: Instead of the enemy fleeing or being destroyed, they flee before their enemy.
- Joshua 7:6: Joshua’s response is to throw himself before God. He is humble, contrite and anxious to know the cause of the disaster.
- Joshua 7:10: Notice Yahweh’s command, “GET UP.” Joshua is not to remain in a defeated position, but God plans to raise him up once again.
What happens when I stray?
1. I incur . Joshua 7:11
2. I lose my Joshua 7:12-13.
3. I endure . Joshua 7:12
God tells Joshua that he must decide: Does Joshua want God’s presence, or not? If he wants God to go with them, then Joshua must deal with the sin in the camp. He may not be passive about sin.
- Joshua 7:13, Joshua is again told to “Get up.” He is to man up. Tomorrow he will consecrate the people and come before God.
The guilty person can do 1 of 3 things:
1. He can come forward, confess, beg mercy.
2. He can take off into the desert in middle of the night. Go to some Canaanite city and seek refuge.
3. Keep quiet, hope the lot falls on someone else. Really, what are the odds of losing a national lottery?
= Achan chooses option #3: Just see what happens.
- Joshua 7:16-18: the nation rises early and goes through the process of casting lots to find the guilty person. While this appears to be fully random (and that’s what Achan is counting on) in the Old Testament this is an appointed means to determining God’s will. (This is also how the Apostles chose the next Apostle after Judas hung himself.) Achan must have been stunned when the lot fell on him.
- Joshua 7:19: Joshua tells Achan to give God praise, confess his sin and “do not hide it from me.” This is a Hebrew word play since what Achan has done is hide stolen items in his tent. (Joshua 7:21)
- Joshua 7:20: Achan’s confession is sorry, but not broken.
- Joshua 7:21: It’s interesting that he took a robe. Literally it is, “one beautiful garment of Shinar.” Shinar is mentioned in Genesis 11:2 as the place where the Tower of Babel was built. Some scholars think this robe was a gift from the king of Babylon to the king of Jericho. Throughout the Bible Babylon represents everything opposed to God. In Revelation, Babylon is the symbol of the world (the “whore of Babylon”) while the church is the “Bride of Christ.” So, there’s the Bride of Satan, Babylon, and the Bride of Christ, the Church. Achan chooses to align himself and his family with Babylon.
- Joshua 7:22: The stolen items are found buried in Achan’s tent. He’s an idiot. He stole things while living among nomads. No where to display his riches, and no black market to sell his plunder.
- Joshua 7:24: They are taken to the valley of Achor, which means valley of trouble.
- Joshua 7:25: Joshua asks, “why did you bring trouble on us.”
- Ahcan = Trouble.
- Achor = Valley of trouble.
- Joshua = You have brought trouble on us.
- Yahweh = will now trouble Achan.
- Joshua 7:25: Israel stones Achan and all that is his, burn the remains with fire, and then pile stones on top of them to mark their grave. There is no way to soften this text. It is brutal. Sin does great harm to us, to all that we have, to all that we love. We do an injustice to the Bible when we try to reimagine this account in a more comfortable way. This text is meant to make us squirm. Sin brings death. It
On our most troubling days,
- Joshua 7:26: The place where Achan is stoned is called the Valley of Achor. The Valley of trouble.
- Hosea 2:14-15: In Hosea, the nation has strayed from God. He tells them that judgment is coming. But then in Hosea 2 he begins to woo them back to him. And then he says that in the valley of Achor he will make a “door of hope.”
That is, in the very place judgment is deserved, God will open a door of hope.
How do I get up?
1.Come (Joshua 7:7) (James 4:8-10)
2. I must deal (Joshua 7:25)
3. Expect God to (Joshua 8) (Phlippians 3:13-14) (Proverbs 24:16)
4. Get back (Joshua didn’t stay down) (Joshua 7:13)
Notice when discussing the armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-13, Paul’s emphasis is on “standing” against the devil. We are not to stay down and defeated, but rise up against our enemy.