Those who walk with God see Him as their only source of blessing. They don’t trust the stuff as Achan did in Joshua 7. The stuff rusts, but God remains with His sufficient grace. (Joshua 7)
Speaker(s): Pastor John Love
Sermon # 11504
7:30 PM on 7/11/2018
Keep P. Schaller and P. Scibelli in you prayers in different parts of the world. They go out and encourage these churches around the globe. You can imagine what it means to these churches when they come. It’s such a blessing. Please keep them in your prayers for health and each of these conferences P. Scibelli is the Italian energizer battery. P. Schaller goes and goes. Does he ever sleep? And then he just collapses at some point. It’s amazing how they pour out their lives around the globe.
How many when you first heard of those boys in Thailand – how many began to pray? Isn’t it amazing God answered our prayers? They all got out. I don’t remember when I ever watched the nightly news and said out loud, Praise God! They all got out. The news is always so bad but that night I said Praise the Lord because our prayers were answered.
Ge 14, you recall Abram had heard his nephew was taken captive.
In Ge 13 Abram and his nephew Lot had to part ways. There was great strife that arose between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. Abram being a wise man says we need to separate from each other. I like the attitude he took. We need to separate from each other physically so we don’t separate from each other in our hearts. He said if you go to the left, I go to the right. If you go to the right, I go to the left. Lot made an awful decision. He set his eyes on the well-watered plains of Jordan and pitched his tent toward Sodom. That’s the beginning of the down fall. They took all his family and herdsmen and Abram finds out about it. He gets together his group of men and routes these kings. He gets back all the people and retrieves his nephew. It’s a fascinating story.
vs. 17. We know Melchizedek may have been an O.T. Christ present at this time. A Christophany. An O.T. preincarnate appearance of Christ.
We know this from Hebrews in chapters 7 and 8. vs. 18-22. I put all my trust in God. He is the possessor of heaven and earth. I will not take from you a thread, even a shoe latchet. A thread makes up a garment. Abraham doesn’t need a garment from the king of Sodom which speaks of this world system. We have the garment of righteousness given to us by Christ. A shoe latchet speaks of anything that would contribute to our walk of faith on earth. There is nothing this world can contribute to our walk of faith before Christ. We don’t need anything. He says I won’t take it lest you say I have made Abram rich. He knows what my needs are and he promises to meet them. He will faithfully do that. You couldn’t get Abram to bite.
Josh 6, many of us remember whether we remember it as little children or a father to our own little children, when Dad would pick you up and freak out your mother or wife, which is to throw you in the air. How many remember that? Either you throw your children up or you were thrown up. I hope you don’t remember being dropped. You have to do it when they are kids because you can’t do it when they are 10 or 12. They’ll be in the hospital and your back will be out! When they are little, no problem. We love to do it. I do it now with my grandchildren. They love it, too. When you pick up a child like a father it’s not like the child is worried or concerned or fearful. Imagine if the child could put in words. This is dangerous? How long have you been doing this? Do you have any previous training? They love it. The higher the better. Dad says I can do this then he can do it. If dad says I will catch you, he will catch you. The kids trust dad completely. Oh we would trust our father in the same way, complete and total without any reservation or fear or concern that we might be let down or dropped. We don’t have to have that fear.
Jesus said in Jn. 6:29, this is the work of God that you believe on him who sent me. That is in essence everything God is looking for from us that we would trust him completely without any reservations.
In everything we do begins with faith, Heb 11:6. Without faith it’s impossible to please him for those that come to him must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. The absence of faith in their lives meant more wandering in the wilderness. There is a correlation between what happens to them and you and I when we don’t trust God with a faith that is whole hearted. More wandering in our lives. God wants to put wandering in the rear view mirror of our lives for good. He knows there is only one place for his people and that is in a land called Promise.
For the children of Israel it was that piece of real estate that God promised them, that God said was theirs. For you and me, it’s the promises of God. God wants you and I to do everything we can to believe him he is going to take us into his promises. He’s going to take us into the promises and the promises will be taken into our hearts. When we have that reality of faith working in our lives, we start to do some real Promise Land living. No more wandering. Just living like Promised Land people.
Joshua after the death of Moses, keep following the simple instructions, don’t live in fear. He kept emphasizing the giving part. I’m going to give it to you. It’s your inheritance. I want you to step into it by faith. He had to trust God to open rivers, bring down walled cities. Joshua learned to trust God. Most of the children of Israel followed his example. Praise God for great leadership, for pastors who have a life of faith. We can look at the way they follow hard after the Lord. I will follow that man’s faith. We aren’t following a man but a man’s faith. The children of Israel looked at Joshua. He trusted God completely. Most followed his example. But one that didn’t his name was Achan. When this story ends this man was aching! A lot of Christians never heard of him. This is the story when God leads the children into the land and God gave very specific instructions about Jericho. They had to trust God completely. Not fighting or storming the gates but walking around those walls. Blowing the trumpets in obedience to God. Just being quiet before God. God says something else. He said when that happens, don’t take any of the treasures. Don’t take any of the stuff. When a nation goes to war against another nation, all the loot becomes theirs. There will be gold and silver and I want you to take those and put them into the treasury. There were specific items God said don’t touch them. It’s not the feel good Bible story we like to read. It’s in the book of Joshua and I think God kept it there for a reason.
The sixth chapter of Joshua ends this way: so the Lord was with Joshua and his fame was noised throughout the country. I like that last verse. It begins with SO. The seventh chapter begins with BUT. You know there is going to be a problem. You call the car mechanic. How’s it going? Well, we got the belt, we got the spark plugs changed and the air conditioning got recharged and we go new tires on it. It sounds and it’s running great and you just keep waiting for the proverbial BUT. Here comes the $900 charge you didn’t expect. That 6th chapter ended so wonderful with the walls coming down at Jericho. Receiving their victory as a gift of grace. The Lord was with Joshua and his fame noised throughout the country. But, yes, the stage was set after the sixth chapter for Israel to run the table so to speak. You know something. It didn’t happen. The next chapter, the little town of Ai, it all went awry. And there was a reason why. God told Joshua. After Joshua fell on his face and he said Lord why did you do this to us? Why have you brought us into this land to humiliate us this way? The nations will laugh at us. They lost a handful of men. They were the only loses in the entire military campaign. They never suffered another loss.
God said it was sin in the camp. He violated the command of God in the 6:18-19. The instructions were so clear. God said don’t touch the stuff. That was it. Don’t touch the stuff. No souvenirs. No trinkets, no Jericho jewelry. Leave it all behind. Why was God dealing with him and his family so harshly? He was brought to a place of confession and Joshua said, where is it? In my tent. Why did he do it? In case things don’t work out in this Promise Land you have something to hold onto. It was an ancient IRA. It was his retirement account and he hid it in his tent for the proverbial rainy day. The rain was coming but not the kind he anticipated. God needed his people to trust him alone and nothing else.
This is the whole principle behind the story, the message God wanted to give to the children of Israel. What was it? I don’t want you to trust stuff. We can fall into the same trap. It can happen to any of us. No one should be condemned if you have stuff or a lot of it. Guard you heart if you begin to trust that stuff. You got stuff, praise God! Pastor Stevens used to say make sure you possess your possessions but your possessions don’t possess you. God had such high hopes for the children of Israel. The Messiah would descend. He is trying to develop his people. Their future was so incredible. Prophesied by God himself that they would be a great nation. He needed them to be a people that would trust him completely. This is why the precedent is so important here. This happened as soon as they stepped into the land. Imagine if it continued, if it just started with Achan and the next conquest someone said we have to get some of that stuff too because we’re going to need it down the road. We don’t know what kind of future we are really going to have. Who knows what the inhabitants will be like and if we end up allowing some of these inhabitants to occupy the land with us, it could be some day they would turn on us. And we will lose everything. We can’t let that happen. We need some stuff. God made it clear. I don’t want you to trust stuff. I want you to trust me. Could they afford to rely on their own strength? No way. God had to teach them this great principle. I am enough. If you have me, you have enough. We need that principle in our own lives. We may not have a lot stored up for us in terms of our future – if you have plans for your future praise God. We should live in such a way that Christ could come back tonight. If he doesn’t, we should plan we should be here for a while. Save you money, – that’s all well and fine, but we don’t trust on those things. We don’t wake up to check in our retirement account. We’re trusting in a God that says I will always be there for you. I will be the one you can put all your trust in. He’s going to do that for us. God said who opened up the Jordan River? Did you call in some engineers from a foreign nation? Who led you on dry ground? God said I did that for you. Who brought those walls down? Me, God said. Who fought for his people over and over? It was me. Don’t allow the stuff of this world to distract you or create a seeming need in your life that can only be fulfilled by the stuff. Abram said he is the God of heaven and earth and the possessor of everything. I don’t need a shoe latchet or anything this world has to give me. He is everything. I know I am his and he is mine. God said how about those 40 years in the desert? Did you survive? Did your clothes wear out? Did your feet not swell in those 40 years? They were hanging in there the whole 40 years. How did that happen? We can go for a walk around the block and have to soak our feet. The children of Israel wandered 40 years and their feet didn’t swell or their clothes wear out. God provided manna and quail when they needed it.
De 8:7-9 God said I promised to provide for you. Even more than that, you keep trusting me. God himself would be the sole source of blessing. God did this. God knows what would happen if the soldiers started to collect treasure from whom they conquered. They would stop trusting him and start trusting stuff.
I saw the book of the story of Winnie the Po. He drew a map. The map sold the other day in London for $555,000. Someone bought the map so they could know where Winnie the Po lives and Eeyore and Christopher Robin. Stuff.
The value that this world puts on stuff. God says I want to teach you this principle. It was important for the children of Israel to know. God said I want to make it so clear to you. You have me; I’m enough. Every blessing I will give to you. Don’t go outside of who I am to meet your every need. I’ll take care of you. Achan proved that point. Achan saw the bling and he forgot the king. It’s that simple. The devil is always putting the bling out in front of us. The apostle Paul is just moving through life and saying Lord, I am learning to be content. I can be abased and I can abound. It really doesn’t matter. Maybe we have experienced both extremes.
Years ago, we stayed with young people at Saint Paul’s kitchen. Hopefully the rodents weren’t so big they might wake you up at night. P. Rob Graff said, did you feel that? No, I didn’t touch you. Something large ran across us. While that woke us up, the window was open and we heard a man screaming, my teeth! My teeth! Give me back my teeth! He was pounding on the mission door of the house. We went to the window and said we do not have your teeth. He said, oh. And walked away. We learned how to be abased and then we learn how to abound. I had a gentlemen one time years ago he brought me up to New York and he said listen, I know you come up here all the time and you do the chapel services with the players, and sometimes you have to drive home late at night. You get home 2, 3, 4 o’clock in the morning. Tonight he said I will put you in a hotel. Where? Down town. He said it’s the Ritz Carlton. He said I insist. I had a whole floor to myself. Five rooms. I cried myself to sleep because of loneliness. I turned on the TV in every room. I kept the lights on all night long. I didn’t even enjoy that experience.
You can learn to be abased and whatever state you are in, you can learn to be content because you have a God that promised to meet all your needs through the glorious riches he provides for us through the grace of J.C. Think about it. Joshua had a meltdown. When we come undone, God comes and says I’m not done. You might be undone but I’m not done. There is work to be done. Joshua this is all because of little trouble in the camp. The camp was poisoned, a rotten apple that could spoil the rest of the bunch. Achan was found out, confessed and I like the way he described it. I saw it, I wanted it and I took it. Others saw it and probably wanted it but only Achan took it. God had to set the precedent. All the believers in the early church sold their possessions and distributed amongst the needs of the Body.
Ananias and Sapphira said we should do that too. These people seem to get a lot of recognizing but let’s not give at all. Let’s keep a back portion for ourselves. They are going into the land and God says you got to learn to trust me. And when the church gets underway, God says you got to learn to trust me. I’m going to deal with it harshly in the N.T. because I want the church to understand they cannot learn to trust stuff but learn to trust me. He will always be enough. God’s message is trust me and trust me alone. We could ask ourselves what a search of our tents would reveal. That’s what they had to do with Achan. Achan? What’s in your tent? Would it be a cabinet full of faith or a closet piled with ambition? A room filled with hope or a safe filled with stocks and bonds in case this Christianity doesn’t work out? Don’t place your trust in stuff.
1 Timothy 6:17 command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in their wealth which is so uncertain but to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. God will do that for us. Whatever the needs are, he promises to meet them. The grace of God provides for our needs perfectly so. It’s just what we need when we need it. The timely fashion in which it comes makes us want to trust God even more. God never told the rich to feel guilty about being rich. He urged caution. Guard your hearts and don’t trust those riches. That’s where it can all go wrong. Nothing breeds failure more than success. One thing none of us can stand is perpetual success. Why so many tests, God? To keep you in a place to learn to trust me. If it were perpetual blessing, how many of us would see our need to trust God? Instead of moving forward and experiencing Promised Land living, we might step back to a wandering land experience. Let’s invest in the currency of heaven. The world’s economy, in one hour it can be shaken to the core. Many learned this back in 2008 when there was a crash. Back in the 1930’s we all remember that historical crash. It could just be a whisper on Wall Street and it could be enough to see the economy collapse. We would be fine because we would be trusting in God, not our stuff. He would sustain us and meet our needs and we would glorify his name.
Whom do we trust? It’s either going to be God or a king called “more.” More stuff. More things. That king never satisfies. That king always leads to rust. It rots. It loses his value and eventually goes out of style. But our king is forever.
That king says I will meet your needs. I will provide your every need. Your one requirement is to delight yourself in me. Delight yourself in me and I will give you everything that the deepest part of your heart longs for: meaning, purpose, hope, joy, contentment, peace, and a rest only God himself can provide.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.