Morrisons Cove Herald - Putting cows on the front page since 1885.

By Kelly Baker
Correspondent 

Not Your Typical Church Lady

Joshua 6-8

 

"Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury."

~Joshua 6:16b-19 (NIV)

Why do we find it so hard to follow instructions? From the very beginning of the Bible, man has had trouble with this. Very seldom does everyone do exactly as they're told. Why is it that we think we're somehow the individual exemption from the rule? I'm no psychology major, but I'll go out on a limb and say if you really, really think about it and dig deep into the core of this, we disobey God out of a lack of trust.

Perhaps there is a seed of doubt that whispers, "If you take matters into your own hands this will go much better. You don't REALLY need to listen. You can just do it your way. It won't matter." Dude. This never works. Can't we see that? What have we learned from history? Nothing apparently.

If you happen to be reading through the Bible chronologically this year, you'll be quite familiar with what is going on in Joshua, since we just finished that book of the Bible last week. If you're not, here is what is going on in the above passage.

The children of Israel, after fleeing Egypt and wandering the desert for 40 years (it didn't have to take that long but, as we are mentioning, no one ever listens when God tells them to do something, so desert wandering was their punishment for not obeying and trusting), had finally crossed the Jordan and were ready to take the city of Jericho. They had marched around the city once a day for six days and now we find them here, on the seventh day, having marched around the city seven times. Before giving the signal to sound the trumpets and shout, Joshua gave the above command that the city and all that were in it were to be devoted to the Lord. They were to let the devoted things inside the city alone. Not only would taking them bring destruction on the individual, but also put the whole camp of Israel in danger.

The fall of Jericho went according to plan and it seemed that for once, they had all managed to follow directions. But then. After Jericho, Joshua moved on to take Ai. During the first battle, Israel lost 36 men. This was a devastating blow to them. Joshua tore his clothes and fell down before the ark of the Lord. Finally the Lord told him to stand up and that Israel had indeed sinned by taking some of the devoted things. The people were to present themselves tribe by tribe, clan by clan and family by family. They did and in the end it was discovered that a man named Achan was the one who had done wrong.

When they took the city of Jericho he saw a beautiful robe, silver and a wedge of gold, which he coveted and took for himself. For this, he and his family were stoned to death. If only he had obeyed. For at the very next battle of Ai "The Lord said, 'Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, EXCEPT that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city'" (Joshua 8:1-2, NIV).

If Achan had followed directions, he would have been rewarded with the rest of the Israelites. But he chose to disobey, coveting what was to be God's and then secretly taking what was not his to take. The result of which was death, for him, his family and 36 Israelites who had nothing to do with his sin.

God had a plan all mapped out. Those who trusted God and obeyed were richly rewarded. I think the whole Bible can be summed up in those last two sentences. God does have a plan all mapped out. Those who trust in God's plan will be richly rewarded. Those who don't... let's just say it doesn't end well. God sees all, and knows all. He knows your heart and he knows what you're up to, good or bad.

The choice is ours to make: trust God, or trust yourself? Which are you going to choose?

 

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