Stealing From God

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Joshua 7-9; Luke 1:21-38

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The Israelites did a disrespectful thing concerning the items reserved for God. Achan was the son of Carmi, grandson of Zabdi, great-grandson of Zerah. He was from the tribe of Judah. He took some of the things reserved for God. So the Lord was furious with the Israelites.

Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven to the east of Bethel. He said to them, “Go up. Scout out the land.”

So the men went up and scouted out Ai. They came back to Joshua and said to him, “There is no need for all of the people to go up. Two or three thousand men could go up and strike Ai. Don’t make all of the people bother going there. There are just a few of them.” So about three thousand men from the people went up in that direction. But they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down approximately thirty-six of them. They chased them from outside the gate as far as Shebarim. They struck them down on the slope. Then the hearts of the people melted and turned to water (Joshua 7:1-5, Common English Bible).

OK friends, I apologize. I dropped the ball today. Last night I was trying to get Sunday’s sermon done. I worked on it until 3:00 this morning. I started working on this post but was just too tired. I intended on getting up and finishing and honestly, I forgot. It was not until 9:00 tonight. So, I am trying to get it posted and then one ready for tomorrow. For those who are following the “Journey Through Scripture” passages, sorry I am putting more on you in a single day.

Several years ago, the church I served at the time, had a break in. One end of the building, it housed our pre-school, the thieves went in, found cans of shaving cream in the preschool office and left trails of shaving cream all over the preschool. There were other things contributing to the mess, but make no mistake, it was a mess.

Meanwhile, down at the opposite end of the building where the church offices were located, there was plenty of mischief and worse. To gain access to the office the door was kicked in. Because it was a hollow-core door, they left a hole in the door. There was a mess in the main church office. They didn’t leave a mess in my office but they did make their presence known. The monitor for my computer was left face down on the desk, not a big deal but I was pretty upset when I looked in one particular corner and immediately noticed my guitar was gone. It wasn’t the best guitar in the world, but it was a guitar none the less. And, it was MY guitar, it was my stuff.

Other things were taken as well but, this was my stuff and I wasn’t very happy about it. If you know me, you know I love my guitars. I kept an eye on the pawn shops to see if my guitar made an appearance. It didn’t.And, while I love my guitars and I wasn’t happy about losing my stuff, I wasn’t devastated by it either. Somebody took my stuff and I wasn’t happy about it.

Achan took God’s stuff!!! What is more, God wasn’t happy about it. Further, as the Israelites move forward to attack Ai, they underestimate their enemy and fall to them. Joshua prays prostrate before God.

God says in essence, they lost the battle because Israel committed evil in the eyes of the Lord, taking God’s stuff. Before all is said and done, Achan admits his guilt.

I have trouble with this story. The only grace here is, only Achan and his family were killed. Though God was angry with Israel, God gave them grace. Achan, on the other hand, was stoned to death and burned. I understand the need for punishment but a capital offense? It seems to me to be a bit strong.

The thing is, we see far more evidence of grace in the New Testament than in the Old. In the Old, there is more judgment. There is more punishment. It is much more difficult to see God’s love.

Regardless, God does love us. Grace is given to us. But, we also have to know, just because grace is present, it does not relieve us of the consequences of our actions. We hope for grace. We should expect consequences.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

P.S. I made it for March 21st with 8 minutes to spare!

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