“The Thrill & The Agony”

Posted: April 19, 2013 in Christian Life, Joshua, Salvation

             Any Olympic athlete knows the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  Years are spent in training just for a moment to shine in the sunshine and be admired by the world.  But most of the athletes go away without any medals.  Some return to their homeland in shame for not having won a medal.

            Wandering Jews.  After wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, the Jews finally crossed the Jordan River on their journey to take the land that God had promised to give to them (Genesis 15:18-21).  God used some strange military tactics to bring down the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6).  Furthermore the Jews were forbidden from taking any of the treasures of the city for themselves.

            Covetousness.  This green eyed monster stuck a man and his family and they gave in to temptation and took some silver and gold and a fashionable Babylonian garment for themselves. “Covetousness is not the exclusive [trespass] of the poor who envy those who have what they lack, any more than it is the exclusive [trespass] of the rich who continue to increase their fortunes at the expense of those who have no recourse against them.” – George Syme.  Trespasses can lead to sin (Ephesians 2:1; James 1:13-15).

            Defeat.  After such a great success at the city of Jericho, the Jews never expected to see defeat.  But, as in sports, when just one person on a team breaks the rules, a penalty is imposed on the whole group.  Many athletic events have been lost because of one person’s mistake or failure.

            Steps.  The steps that led to Achan’s disaster included: He saw; He coveted; He took what he wasn’t supposed to take (Joshua 6:19; 7:21; 1 John 2:15-17).  This happens daily as married spouses have longing eyes for someone other than their own marriage partner.  Single people look lustfully at others with evil intent and flatter and charm their way into their lives.  The 10th Commandment may not be familiar to you.  It says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…his wife…his male or female servants…his [vehicles] or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17). It can lead to murder (1 Kings 21).

            Idolatry.  Strangely, covetousness is associated with idolatry in the Scriptures (Colossians 3:5).  Rather than accepting the true and living God of the Bible, man wants to create a god that is more like a Jeanie who is at his beck and call. “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.” – A. W. Tozer

            Consequences.  Because of one man’s sin, 36 soldiers died and widows and children were left behind (Joshua 7:5).  A soldier who falls asleep while he is on guard duty can lead to great casualties in a company of soldiers. The death penalty was imposed on some guards who fell asleep while Peter was in their custody (Acts 12:19).  Strangely, the guards who guarded the dead body of Jesus were told to lie and say that His disciples stole His body while all of them slept (Matthew 28:13-15).  This is a most unlikely story but it is still accepted in many circles even to this day.

            Stoned.  The penalty exacted on Achan was death by stoning.  Then everything he had was burned with him and a pile of stones heaped on top of him.  This was to serve as a reminder to everyone that rebellion against God brings terrible consequences (Joshua 7:24-26; Romans 6:23).

            Grace.  God [the Father] loved the people of this world who were caught in the devil’s trap and headed for hell.  Not wanting them to perish with the devil forever, He sent God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth.  He came through the virgin, Mary and lived a sinless life for 33 years.  Then He volunteered to go to die on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins.  After His outraged holiness against our sin nature and our personal sins had been satisfied, God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Romans 4:25).

            Salvation.  It is extended to all mankind but not to the fallen angels (1 John 2:2; James 2:19).  Deliverance from hell to heaven is offered to all who will put their faith and trust in Christ alone for their salvation (Acts 16:31).  Anyone who tries to add his/her good works to God’s free gift of salvation nullifies God’s offer (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

            Omniscient.  Nothing can be hidden from God.  He knows everything (Isaiah 46:10; Psalm 139).  That is scary if you’re doing the wrong things, but it is also comforting to those who suffer for doing what’s right and yet suffer at the hands of evil doers.  God will make it up to us someday (Romans 8:18).

            Relationship.  What kind of a relationship do you have with God?  Are you a child of the devil or a true child of God (1 John 3:10; John 8:44).  Are you sure that you have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13)?  Why should God let you into heaven?  If you think you’re saved, is there anything you could do or fail to do that would cause you to lose your salvation?

            Contact.  You can get in touch with us by calling 805-238-3549 or visiting our website at www.kelseypeach.com.  If this article has helped you, will you share it with others?  Visit http://www.sermon.net/kelseypeach for some of our audio messages.

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