1. Hello, listening friends, and thank you for tuning in to this broadcast.
2. We have been studying the book of Joshua in this series of messages entitled, “You Want Me to do What?”
3. And answering that question will show us how to follow the call of God in our lives.
4. So far, we have seen five answers.
5. And today, we’ll learn about answer number six.
6. And that is, learning from our mistakes.
7. If you have a Bible, please turn to the book of Joshua, chapter 7 verses 1-15.
8. Being ambushed can be devastating.
9. Do you know what I’m talking about?
10. I’m talking about the family in which everything seems to be going fine, then all of a sudden, one of the spouses asks for a divorce.
11. That’s an ambush.
12. I am talking about the person who has be so blessed financially, but then all of a sudden, one business deal seems to threaten the loss of everything.
13. Those are the kinds of ambushes that I’m talking about.
14. When you experience that, you find yourself crying out to God, “Why?”
15. Often in due course, we will discover why.
16. But the question is this—am I willing to confront the reason for failure?
17. Am I willing to find out the hidden facts?
18. Often, we try to ignore that which God wants us to confront.
19. Often, we want to rationalize a cherished sin when God wants us to purge it out of our lives.
20. We cover up our sin instead of exposing it to God’s light and allowing Him to clean it up.
21. We lie about it instead of admitting it and repenting of it.
22. This is where we find God’s people in the book of Joshua, chapter 7.
23. After a victory in Jericho, when the impenetrable walls collapsed supernaturally,
24. after the plan of God was obeyed fully and the people experienced unity and obedience,
25. they were ambushed and defeated in a tiny little town by the name of Ai.
26. Joshua felt devastated and in puzzlement, he cries out to the Lord, “God, why did you do this?”
27. Isn’t that human nature? Whenever we face defeat in our Christian life, the first thing we do is blame God for it.
28. While in reality, the defeat was the consequence of disobeying God’s injunction.
29. In that case, the reason was hidden sin and breaking of God’s command.
30. The reason was that someone took that which is God’s.
31. This is a very familiar scenario in the life of many Christians.
32. When they need God’s supernatural hand in their life,
33. when they need God’s answer to specific prayer,
34. they walk closely with the Lord and become prayer warriors.
35. They confess their sins and turn away from that which is not pleasing to the Lord.
36. Then God, in His mercy, answers their prayer.
37. They become thankful and grateful to God—ah, for a short time.
38. But then the euphoria of gratitude gets crowded out with all of the problems of life.
39. The thankfulness for God’s past intervention becomes hazy with all of the new temptations of life.
40. Prayer becomes sporadic and time with God becomes infrequent.
41. They only focus on the blessings that God will give them until they experience terrible defeat.
42. And then they find themselves, like Joshua, crying out to the Lord, “Why?”
43. My listening friend, I want to give you three stages of defeat and restoration here from the book of Joshua.
44. Number one, there’s carelessness.
45. Secondly comes calamity.
46. And number three is closure.
47. Now let’s look at number one—carelessness.
48. This is stage number one for defeat.
49. Someone said that the greatest problem of believers is that they underestimate the power of sin.
50. They often try to explain it this way—
51. they say, “I know what the Bible said about this sin, but it is different in my situation.”
52. But, my listening friend, nothing can be an excuse for carelessness with sin.
53. And that is why the Bible said you must fulfill your salvation with fear and trembling.
54. Let me give you some examples of how we rationalize disobedience.
55. God said that your integrity, ethics, and behavior are your testimony to a sinful world.
56. But we explain away our unethical behavior by saying, “Well, it’s part of doing business these days.”
57. In the book of Joshua, we read that Achan heard God’s command.
58. And the command said that, “You must not take any of the spoils, for they belong to the Lord.”
59. But then, when nobody else was looking, Achan coveted the gold and the silver and the clothing that he saw.
60. So he stole them and hid them away
61. and he thought that he could get away with it.
62. My listening friend, here is the problem.
63. Sometimes, when we disobey the Word of God and God does not immediately react to our disobedience, we mistakingly think that we got away with it.
64. Achan probably, out of fear, said, “Oh, I need to provide for my family.
65. I need to store up some provisions for the future and take care of myself.”
66. Remember from the last message when I said, “When fear is up, faith is down?”
67. Here, Achan had forgotten God’s past provision of manna in the wilderness.
68. Achan had forgotten God’s crossing them over the river of impossibility.
69. Achan had forgotten the supernatural collapse of the mighty walls of Jericho.
70. Achan seemed to be saying, “Yes, God did this in the past, but will He do it in the future?”
71. Oh, my listening friend, this deadly type of thinking will always lead you to the second stage of defeat.
72. And that is calamity.
73. Achan’s unfaithfulness did not only bring disaster to himself, but to the whole community.
74. Consider the person who is not spending time with God.
75. Or the person who is keeping his or her mouth from testifying to the work of God in their life.
76. They can continue like this for a short time.
77. But then the consequences of their carelessness leads to calamity.
78. When God gave His people victory by taking them across the river Jordan,
79. when God gave them the victory when the walls of Jericho collapsed,
80. God wanted them to go from one point of glory into another,
81. from one level of experience with God to a greater level of experience with God.
82. And, my listening friend, that’s what God wants for you.
83. As you develop intimacy with God, He uses you to touch someone’s life,
84. and then another, and then another, and then another,
85. then to claim all of your environment for Christ.
86. But then when you allow the cares and the material possessions of this world blind you,
87. you keep going until you find yourself in the face of full-blown calamity.
88. Satan knows that.
89. If he can get you to become careless, you will not only bring calamity on yourself, but your testimony will be tarnished.
90. Your witness will cease.
91. Your passion will cool off.
92. Your love for others will die down.
93. If Satan succeeds in getting you to become careless with sin,
94. he knows that not only will you become impacted, but the whole community around you will suffer.
95. And that is why it is vitally important to know about stage number three.
96. Stage number three is the step for restoration.
97. And it is how to bring that carelessness about sin and its calamitous results to a close.
98. Stage number three is putting closure on that sin.
99. The man whom we refer to as St. Augustine, reveals to us in his confession that as a young man, he often prayed, “Oh God, give me chastity, but not now.”
100. Some of us may identify with young Augustine.
101. You know that there is carelessness with sin in your life that is constantly causing you calamities.
102. You know that carelessness with sin is keeping you from being an effective witness for Christ.
103. You know that it is hindering you from experiencing victorious life.
104. But through it all, you say, “Lord, I want to repent of that, but not now.”
105. “Lord, I want to extract it out of my life and be fully obedient to You, but not yet.”
106. My listening friend, I want to tell you that in many ways there is a little bit of Achan lurking inside all of us.
107. And that is why we must constantly purge these sins out of our lives.
108. When Achan was identified by God, he confessed.
109. Achan realized that he disobeyed God’s commands and betrayed his community.
110. How did he do that?
111. He said, “I saw, I coveted, I took.”
112. The lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.
113. Achan could have rationalized things like we do by saying, “I have been deprived as a child.”
114. “I have taken what I think I deserve.”
115. “I have taken that which is due to me.”
116. “Furthermore, what are these small things in comparison to all the rest?”
117. “I am entitled to some pleasures in life.”
118. “I deserve some good, even if I help myself to it.”
119. My listening friends, had Achan made these excuses, his repentance would not have been sincere.
120. Sin must be confessed, purged, turned away from.
121. And that is why Hosea chapter 2 verse 15 said that the valley of Achor is the door of hope.
122. The very valley in which sin was purged.
123. The valley where Achan paid the consequences of his sin
124. becomes the door of a new hope.
125. My listening friend, please listen carefully as we conclude.
126. The very place where you confess and purge sin out of your life
127. is the beginning of a new beginning in your life.
128. It is the beginning of new hope and a new faithfulness in your life.
129. It is the beginning of a new ministry and a new testimony in your life.
130. You can be no more careless with sin than being careless with cancer.
131. My listening friends, I tell you from firsthand experience that disobedience is like a cancer growing inside of you.
132. You may dismiss its symptoms and ignore its impending consequences, but the truth is, there’s only one way to deal with it.
133. And that is purging it.
134. And then watch the victory that God will give you immediately after purging it out of your life.
135. The city of Ai was defeated by God’s people, but only after sin was purged.
136. My listening friend, do not wait until it’s too late.
137. Purge your sin today by the power of God.
138. Only you know what your sin is.
139. Is it pride?
140. Is it bitterness?
141. Is it unfaithfulness in your stewardship?
142. Whatever your sin is, confess it and repent to God today in prayer.
143. Then write to us and tell us.
144. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.