I woke up at 5.30am this morning to complete the slide presentation due for worship I am to lead in church today. I thank and praise God that I feel much better though I still feel a bit dizzy now and then, and I almost fell asleep during sermon. Not that it was boring, I still didn't feel too well and I was tired.
Pastor Chris spoke from Joshua 7:1-26 concentrating on the message that the most ultimate in life is the presence of God. Without God, all is in vain.
Trent Butler in his commentary of the book says that "the key promise to Joshua in the book is the presence of God (1:5, 9; 3:7)". It is in the prayer of the people for Joshua (1:17), it is the basis of Joshua's exaltation (3:7) and the hope of possessing the land. (Butler, WBC, 2002, p.85).
Two points of lesson from this passage:
First, Joshua became self-sufficient and sent men to survey Ai, without seeking God. The result was utter failure. Israel lost in the battle they thought was a piece of cake (they decided they only need two to three thousand men).
Secondly, Achan decided to keep some of the devoted/banned things for himself, in utter disobedience. God had warned that they are to keep away from all the devoted/banned things or face destruction. Achan must have convinced himself that nothing bad will happen - he did not believe and went for it. Doesn't this sound familiar? Haven't we done this before? Convincing ourselves that it is not wrong? (Interestingly, I learnt a new word the other day: factoid, an item of unreliable information that is repeated so often that it become accepted as fact.) The result is the complete wipe out of not only Achan himself but sons and daughters, his herd and all that he had. This scene replays itself in Acts in the case of Ananias and Sapphira. This is the wrath of God.
We need the presence of God with us and in us. He has sent us His son to redeem us - we have with us Emmanuel, God with us. And with God in our presence, He demands from us holiness - a godly life, a holy life.