Monday, February 28, 2011

Joshua 6-8

Spending the week in Columbia doing church work for the Board of Ordained Ministry.  Listening to some great young preachers who are working their way toward ordination.  8:30 a.m until 8:30 p.m., but getting ready for bed now after I finish this blog.  Hope you week is warmed by some gentle early spring sunshine.

Joshua 6-8 continues in a cycle that Israel is having great difficulty breaking.  Obedience is followed by victory.  Victory is followed by Blessing.  Blessing is followed by disobedience.  Disobedience is followed by defeat.  Defeat is followed by Judgment.  Judgment is followed by repentance.  Repentance is followed by obedience.  Obedience by victory and the cycle goes on.

Remember at the close of our last reading, the hearts of the nations that were currently occupying Canaan were melting in fear at what they saw approaching.  Jericho responded to the approaching armies by closing the gate and waiting for what it could not prevent.  When you are on God's side the victory is assured and as the song says, "the walls came tumblin' down."  Jericho is the first fruits of the promised land.  I hope you remember my Sunday morning offering prayer asking God's blessing as we bring the first fruits of our blessing to give back to this sacred place called the church.  The first fruits belong to God and that is why all of Jericho was to be devoted to God.  When Achan kept some of the gold, sliver and bronze; he was stealing from God.  While the victory over Jericho was accomplished, the sin of Achan guaranteed that God would not look favorably on Israel's future.  God does not bless disobedience.  The sin in the camp was a pestilence and guaranteed failure.  Sin can permeate a camp, it can permeate a community, it can permeate a church; the result in every case is that God cannot bless sin.  It violates his very nature.  We may think that the price paid by Achan's family was too high for his covetous failure, but the wages of sin is death and God is trying to create a nation that is fully devoted to him in such a way that it can be a righteous example to the world. Judgment follows sin.  Repentance that leads to obedience again will result in victory.  Ai is conquered when the sin is removed and obedience is again the rule.

Pray that we will recognize sin in our lives and repent before God finds it necessary to punish our disobedience.  Give thanks that Jesus has paid the price for our failure.

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