“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (II Corinthians 13:5) It’s an old story that’s been replayed down through the centuries. Probably, in all fairness, it goes back to the beginning of the ages. God blesses us with abundance and somehow, that just doesn’t seem enough.
Jericho has fallen and is in the hands of the Israelites. God gave them a command that the city was accursed and everyone in it except for Rahab and her household. Everything in the city is to be burnt except the silver, gold, brass and iron which goes into the treasury of the Lord. (Joshua 6:17-19) But, there’s always one who just pushes the envelope too far. And there was this time, too.
Joshua is unaware of what has happened. He summons two spies to go to a little town called Ai to spy it out and return. The spies return and tell Joshua they need only 2-3 thousand men to overcome the city. The opposite happened. When the army marched in to fight, they were whipped. Joshua is stunned. Surely the Lord didn’t bring them here to be overcome by the Amorites? (Joshua 7:2-9)
The Lord tells Joshua that He will not fight for Israel because they have sinned. And, until the deed is undone He, God, will no longer fight for them. Joshua goes through the tribes and all the families of the tribes to find the one who has heaped this evil on them. He comes to Achan and Achan admits what he has done. He spotted a Babylonian garment, in Jericho of all places, and just couldn’t destroy it. Everyone knew how precious these garments were. So, he hid it along with some other booty underneath his tent.
Achan cursed himself the day he took what wasn’t his to take. He also cursed all that were with him, all of his belongings, all of his animals, and all of his family. It’s a terrible price to be paid for sin. But God does not take sin lightly–just like Adam in the garden, David with the loss of his newborn son, the rich fool who hoarded his bounty with bigger barns, and Judas who betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver; there is a day of reckoning.
Are we any different today? We live in a culture that encourages buyers to get the latest iPhone, the latest Vera Wang coat, the new Chevy truck, and so on. Are any of us immune from the ads? When God supplies our needs, why do we want more? Like Pastor Josh said, “It’s no fool that gives up what he cannot keep to have what he cannot lose. We will either pay for our sins or accept that Christ has paid for them for us.” Without the love of Christ in our hearts, we really would be reprobates.
You can visit us at our website swedenchurch.com. It is complete with audios of the sermons. Pastor Joshua Strong can also be heard on our radio program which is on KKOZ 92.1 FM at 8:05 a.m. Sunday mornings. Better yet, come and hear Brother Josh live. Sunday morning service begins at 11 a.m. (Sunday school is at 10 a.m.) and evening service begins at 6 p.m. Bible study is Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. except for our business meeting which is held the second Wednesday of each month. Sweden Church is east of Ava about 10 miles on Highway 14 and then left onto 14-219 a quarter-mile. Services are at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sundays.