June 19, 2010

Examining The Scripture XXXV: Rooting Out Evil

The walls of Jericho have come down and Rahab and her family has been spared the fate of the other inhabitants of the city. The young men that were spies have already gone in, brought out, Rahab, her father, mother, her brethren, and all that she had. Joshua's men have torched the city and razed what is left of it. The city has been cursed and left in the dust of their departing footsteps.

We are now introduced to Achan who was a man from the the tribe of Judah. Joshua: Chapter 7 clearly alludes to the fact that Achan had broken faith and taken some of the “devoted things” (Strong’s H2764: חֵרֶם cherem) “cursed; things that should’ve been utterly destroyed” from Jericho. Achan even admitted as much by telling Joshua when confronted about that he took, a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels because he coveted them. They were hidden in the earth inside his tent.

Israel had been told before that basically, Israel’s enemies will essentially flee before them when they go in to take the land promised (I’m paraphrasing) or as chapter 1 states it, “you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess". Joshua sends 3000 men up to defeat Ai and Ai turns the tables on Joshua’s men causing them to flee killing 36 men in the process. Israel is swiftly humiliated at Ai and Joshua is perplexed why, so he rent/tore his garments (in anguish or mourning, unstated which) and petitions God. God immediate informs him of Achan’s sin. The entire nation was punished for the sin of one man because believers are to be “one in the Lord” (Wiersbe 49). Any one person who is weak or infected in the Body of the Church affects the entire Church.

Ironically, it took time to find the evil in the encampment (lots are drawn) just as it is difficult to root out evil and problems embedded in our churches once it digs it’s claws into the Church. It takes quite a bit of spiritual discernment and this appears to have been lacking then and it is lacking in our churches today. Achan is “found out” and the stolen objects are “spread out before the Lord” who was the true owner (Campbell et al 345). Achan is summarily executed for his disobedience by stoning him to death. His coveting cost him his life. Israel eventually goes on to victory against Ai but it takes until chapter 8 for this to happen.

One of the main things I see as a lesson here is failure to use spiritual discernment and what happens when it is not used. Second, it is the obligation of spiritual leaders to tend to the whole flock not just part of it. Spiritual leaders, pastors, elders should get involved with people’s lives if they truly care about them. To some extent the blood and damnation of fellow believers is on our hands if we do not at least tell them the truth or rebuke them about the error of their ways. This is mentioned in Ezekiel 3:16-21 also. Third, obviously coveting things is clearly bad and assured Achan’s demise. Fourth, the Church or Israel needs to work together as a whole and synergistically for the good of the whole body. A single small “infection” of sin can bring an entire body to its knees if the infection festers.

Campbell, Donald , John Walvoord, and Roy Zuck. "The Conquest of Canaan." Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Bible Knowledge). Acambaro: Victor, 1985. 345. Print.

Wiersbe, Warren. "A Convert In Canaan." Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament Wisdom and Poetry (Bible Knowledge). Acambaro: Victor, 2003. 49. Print.

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