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Menominee Grace

Uphold my steps in Your paths, That my footsteps may not slip Psalm 17:5

Ungrateful Achan

450x300xBLOG-Del-Silver-Coins.jpg.pagespeed.ic.p8w2AsW31-And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 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.”  Joshua 7:20-21

Jericho was the gateway to God’s promises for Israel.  This walled city was the first of many triumphs God had planned for His people. As the firstfruits of the conquest, God required the plunder and spoils to be dedicated to Him. All the precious metals were to be given into the tabernacle treasury and all the rest was to be burned.  The firstfruits offering is an act of faith. By giving away the first, we are declaring our trust that more is coming.  Israel was to leave the spoils of Jericho on the promise of better, richer, more fulfilling gifts ahead.

Why did Achan take this Babylonian overcoat? When could he wear it? Deuteronomy 8:4 tells us God had preserved Israel’s clothes for the entire 40 years of wandering.  Where could Achan have spent the silver or the gold?  What could he buy that God had not already promised him?  “So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build,  houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full” Deut. 6:10-11. What else could he want?

The key to Achan’s sin is the word “covet”.  Instead of gratefully waiting for the promised gifts, Achan greedily wanted what he could see.  In magnifying the value of the wealth of Jericho, he lost sight of the value of the wealth of the promise.  These “cursed things” became more important, more real, than the blessings.

It is so easy for us to be distracted by what we see around us, and lose focus on the promises we are fighting towards.  We begin to take for granted the provision of God, and the pleasures of the world can become more real to us than the promises of our Father. We must remember, God knows what we need. He cares for us and has good things for us.  The glitter of the world is not for us. The glory of our home is eternal.

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Expectation Fatigue

Joshua 6:14 — And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did six days.

Can you imagine what it was like for Rahab and her family as they waited under the scarlet cord — the symbol of their redemption — for Israel to conquer the unbelieving city and deliver them? Remember what the victory of Israel meant for this converted Canaanite family: a new relationship with God, a new people, a new position, deliverance from the rejection and scorn of those around them. 

I can feel with them the anticipation as the news flooded through the streets that the Jordan at flood had just stopped — just completely stopped flowing! — and allowed a wide road for Israel to come right to the walls. I can’t imagine anyone in her family spent too much time in commerce or amusements among their neighbors. They wouldn’t want to be far from the scarlet cord when the battle commenced. 

And then, several days later, the criers are calling the warriors to the walls, “Israel is on the march! Prepare for attack!” This faith filled family I’m sure gathered their things, dressed the children for travel, and huddled together, anticipating. They hear the trumpet blasts and the sound of the thousands of feet of God’s army on the move right outside the walls! And then — nothing. Israel went home. Then the second day was the same. Then the third. Let’s remember that Rahab and her father’s household had no idea of the battle plan. All they knew was God was coming with His army, and they had been promised deliverance. Six days of unfulfilled anticipation!

Do you think they began to have “expectation fatigue”? Can you identify with the disappointment and dampening hope of seeing the world around them continue in ungodliness, when they knew the army was just on the doorstep?

How glorious was it must have been on that seventh day, when the marching didn’t stop! How sweet the rescue when it finally came! 

I see a picture of the church here. We are in the city, but cannot allow ourselves to be part of it. We are under the scarlet redemption, and dare not stray too far. We read the Scripture and we can almost hear the trumpeters tuning up — but we are yet left waiting. We know redemption is coming, but God has shared so little of the battle plan with us. Sometimes, we tire of waiting. We know He’s coming for us, but we lose the edge of anticipation. We must remain faithful, patient and prepared, just as Rahab’s family did!

Ungodliness: It’s Not As Bad As You Think

Imagine you are on your way home when you see a man dressed in filthy tatters blindly eating half rotted garbage and enjoying it.  You stop to talk to him, explain to him what he has can’t be compared to what you offer him.  After taking him into your home, cleaning him up, replacing his rags and giving him access to a kitchen full of rich and healthy food, he looks a whole new man.  As he settles in, you notice some peculiarities in his behavior.  He never speaks rudely, behaves indecorously, or is unkind to the neighbors.  He makes quite a show of following the house rules, drawing attention to his well made bed and completed chores.  But he never talks to you. Oh, he asks you for another cup of coffee or a heavier blanket, but even then it’s rare he says, “Thank you.”  He eats your food, sits in your furniture, reads your books as he pleases, all the while behaving as though you aren’t even there.  It’s not that he is hateful towards you, just apathetic.  Slowly you notice your children are watching this and beginning to treat you that way too.  How long would you put up with this?

In verses 17 through 19 of his letter, Jude reminds us, “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:  how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.”  This is quite a warning! Mockers, walking according to ungodly lusts! SENSUAL persons!  These sound like terrible people! 

Actually, this often sounds like us.  We often think of ungodliness as some horrible rebellion against God, but it isn’t.  The word translated “ungodly” literally means “without a sense of awe”.  Ungodliness isn’t open rebellion or blatant denial. Ungodliness is the contempt bred by an ungrateful familiarity.  These ungodly, lust-controlled people were in the assembly.  They weren’t satanists or heavy metal rockers.  They looked like Christians, sounded like Christians, even did the things Christians should do — on the outside.  It’s not that they were rebelling against God, the problem is they live as though God doesn’t exist.

How often are we completely controlled by our fleshly impulses! We overeat. We sleep too much. We devote our time and resources to recreation far out of proportion to our need.  We seek an adrenaline rush.  We lay our future plans for our comfort.  We seek to satisfy our fleshly lusts without ever considering the desires or plans of the God who provides everything we sacrifice to the god of our belly.

Would you put up with this?

New Sermon Series Beginning in October!

Joshua introduction

Romans 12:4-16

Romans 12:1-2

Romans 10

The Discovery

He wondered, As a man might do
If, perhaps, it all was true
Perhaps there is a God above
Who looks upon all men in love
Who longs to heal each broken heart
To give each life a brand new start
Who cared for us so lavishly
That He gave His Son to be
The sacrifice for our foul sin
Such a gift! Our hearts to win

He looked within the Sacred Book
To meet the One who Heav’n forsook
And walked, a Man alongside men
Who lived a sinless life, and then
Was crucified for each man’s sin
The One who died to purchase grace
Who, rising up, broke Death’s embrace
Who offers now to all who call
New life, new hope, new peace withal

And as he read, his head bowed low
His heart was full, to overflow
Such love! And for a man like me
Who knows how hard his heart can be
His broken heart – once full of self
And pride now open’d to receive such wealth
Of righteousness not earned, but given
In full measure by his Lord’s provision
In joy he rose with love anew
Knowing there was much to do
To show this One, this Loving Christ
Mere words alone would not suffice
To tell his gratitude profound
A life alone, completely offered
Just this could reasonably be proffered

I Wonder Why He Loves Me So

I wonder why He loves me so

I cannot understand

I laughed and mocked and spit at Him

When He offered His hand

And yet He still to me stretched out

Those hands for me to see

How ripped and torn His hands had been

By nails – t’were nailed by me.

His loving face He shows to me

The marks of thorns across his mien

The side to which He draws me close

Once bled to show

His grace unfeigned.

My sin! My sin! Has done this crime

And yet He loves me so

He loved me when I hated Him

And loves me even now.

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