New Wine for New Wineskins October 2011

By , September 30, 2011 11:07 am

historytodestinylogoThe Kingdom of Heaven in 2011

Part  8

Joshua 18: 2 – 3

2 There remained among the children of Israel seven tribes which had not yet received their inheritance.3 Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?

Remember – we have already been given the land and so all that remains is for us to take it!


1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel.


The people of God acted unfaithfully and trespassed (overstepped) the covenant!  What was the act of one individual affected the corporate body of people!  We cannot sin and have that sin affect only ourselves – it always has implications in the lives of others!  After all, Adam’s original sin is still affecting us!

2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” 4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. 5 And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.


The people (including Joshua) were unaware of what had happened with Achan and so they were still fired up after their victory at Jericho – so much so that they thought the next city, Ai, would be a walkover and so it wasn’t worthy of sending the whole army to take it!

However, they discovered that if the LORD is not with you then you are in trouble!  Remember when Joshua asked the Lord whether he was on their side or the side of their enemies?  The Lord simply replied, “No, but as the commander of the army of the Lord I have now come…”  He hadn’t come to take sides but to take command!  Obedience brings blessing and victory, but disobedience will always lead to the curse and defeat!  Tragically, thirty-six men lost their lives in the course of this very expensive lesson!  God’s word  says that his people are destroyed through lack of knowledge!

When the rest of the people heard what had happened their courage failed!  Statements like, “I don’t know why this is happening to me” don’t stop the bad stuff from happening!

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord GOD, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?”


Joshua is totally confused by what has taken place!  And so who gets the blame?  The LORD does!  The world is full of people who are pointing the finger at God and blaming him for their mess!  We are sovereign over every mess that we make!   Jesus said, “Do not let….”  Why did he say that?  Because in the beginning God said, “Let them have dominion, let them have sovereignty….

10 So the LORD said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.


The LORD tells Joshua to get up off his face!  The LORD never breaks his covenant or changes the words he has spoken (Psalm 89: 11) and so when something is not going like you know it should it is because there is sin in the camp!  And that sin affects everyone until it is dealt with and removed!  The LORD says that they have stolen and deceived.  In Malachi 3: 8 the Lord asks, “Will a man rob God?”  It would appear so!  What you don’t take responsibility to destroy will destroy you!  In Luke 10: 19 Jesus clearly tells us that he has given us authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and that nothing will by any means hurt us. If we are hurting it is because we have not exercised the authority he has given us.

13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”


The sin must be dealt with before we can stand against our enemies!  We must be set apart in our hearts and lives!  Proverbs 4 encourages us to make wisdom and understanding the principal thing!  You don’t understand God’s love if you neglect the cross and dying to self. You have never understood grace if it hasn’t resulted in holiness in your life.  You can’t appreciate the blessings that come through obedience if you don’t accept that there is a consequence to disobedience,  and you will never be truly thankful towards the Giver of every good and perfect gift if you are not aware that he is also the righteous judge of all the earth!  In too many people’s understanding grace has become confused with mercy.  We need mercy first – not getting what we do deserve – to cancel out the penalty for our sin, and then we need access to the grace – getting what we don’t deserve – that empowers us to live the righteous and holy life that we have been redeemed to live!

14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD takes shall come according to families; and the family which the LORD takes shall come by households; and the household which the LORD takes shall come man by man. 15 Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.’” 16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 He brought the clan of Judah, and he took the family of the Zarhites; and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 Then he brought his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.” 22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it.


By a process of elimination the culprit is discovered!  Achan admits that when he saw a beautiful Babylonish garment, and the silver and gold that he coveted (desired) them and took them and hid them in his tent!  He could never have worn that garment outside or people would have known where he got it!  He couldn’t start throwing money around or people would wonder where it came from and his sin would be exposed!  There is no more devastating sin in a person’s life than secret sin.  If you can’t stand up in church and testify about how good it is then you don’t need it in your life!  Why let things fester and poison us on the inside when we know they can never bring blessing to our lives?

Hebrews 12: 1

…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us….

23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. 24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why have you trou-bled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.


Jesus said that the stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone and that who ever falls on the stone will be broken but whoever the stone falls on will be ground to powder!  God doesn’t despise brokenness – he heals it!  But you have to acknowledge you’re broken before you look to get fixed!

Achan and all that he had was stoned and then burned with fire!  He thought he had taken possession of something but that something had taken possession of him and so he shared in its fate!  Hell was not made for man but for the devil and his angels.  However, if we allow them to influence or control our lives us we will share in their fate!

Thank God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire!  As we fall on the mercy of the LORD our rebellious spirit is broken and restored as the fire of his glory consumes our flesh and resurrects us to newness of life!  Our flesh is burned up so that we can serve the LORD in purity and so that the fullness of his power can be restored to our lives! God’s word is a fire that will burn up all of the dross in our lives!  How many times will we have to pass through the fire?  As many times as it takes to remove the dross!  How many times will we need to hear the same word?  As long as it takes to purify our faith!

Matthew 3: 12

12 “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

When this process is taking place in our lives we can have confidence that the LORD is with us!

Isaiah 43: 1 – 2

1 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;  And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,  Nor shall the flame scorch you.

Remember – if we don’t take the mercy that is being given to us then we will have to take the judgement that is coming!

Isaiah 1: 18 – 20

18 “ Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “ Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;  20 But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Are we ready to respond in worship so that we are fully equipped to take the land?  To worship in spirit and truth?  To receive the mercy and the grace that is being given to us and embrace the word that comes to us?  We are saved by grace through faith – faith that comes by hearing and believing and applying the word of God and receiving all that his word promises!

2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17, 4: 1 – 4

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work….. 1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.


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