Joshua Generation Part IV
Why the little stuff keeps stressing me out.
Synopsis of Sermon 8/22/10
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Text: Joshua 7:1-5: 1But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel. 2And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. 3And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. 4So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. 5And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.
All of us recognize that it is not the big stuff that has us stressed out. Instead it is the little things that trip us up. In our studies in this series, we have learned that the children of Israel were obedient at Jericho. They marched around the city six times and on the 7th time they shouted just like God instructed them to. As a result, God gave them the city of Jericho. Because of their favor with God, they got the victory everywhere they went. They go to the country of Ai after the wall has been torn down at Jericho and Joshua decides to send a few members from his troop to defeat Ai, because they were so small. The few that Joshua sent out to take over Ai came back fearful. Now Ai has caused panic and confusion in Joshua’s camp. All of us have Ais in our life. In other words, it is that little thing that keeps us up all night long, when we know we should be sleep. We keep tripping over the little Ais (little stuff). Why does the little stuff keep tripping us up is the question? The children of Israel were just one wall away from what God promised them and they came out victorious. Now something little has tripped them up. They have been defeated by a minor foe.
I. Defeated by a minor foe
1. This is supposed to be a routine mission or so they thought. How do you handle life, when in one moment you are on a spiritual mountain and next you are on a valley of despair? For example 1 Kings 19:10 says 10And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. In other words, how do you handle being in victory in one moment and the next being defeated. To take it further, before you could get your dance out from the first victory, something came in our life and changed your joy to sorrow. Sometimes things will get real rough.
Joshua 7:7-8 says 7And Joshua said, Alas, O LORD God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! 😯 LORD, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! – At this point, Joshua wants to know what’s up. They would be content on the other side of the Jordan. Many of us get so cocky, because we won over there, that we forget that we must use those same principles to get the victory over here.
2. Reasons why we are tripped up:
A. We rejected the principles of the past- What got you where you are, is going to get you where you are going. The same integrity and obedience that got you the victory at Jericho will get you the victory at Ai.
B. We respond to the problems with no power. -You can’t go on your own power and your own might. It was God’s power that did it at the city of Jericho, not the children of Israel. Many of us have power while we are at church, but our power has to mean something on Monday and the rest of the week. They needed the same God Power that they had at Jericho to make them victorious at Ai. Your power means nothing unless is portable.
C. Revelation of providential perspective – Maybe God is trying to get them to see something in themselves that they have never seen before. We get in our situations and lose perspective. We have to ask God to let us see our situation like he sees our situation. One moment they (the children of Israel) have amazing victory in Jericho and the next minute, they can’t defeat Ai.
II. Deceived by manipulating folk
1. We read this book, went to this conference, and attending every church service offered and now we don’t know why we can’t get the victory. Let’s go to Joshua 6. When the children of Israel got the wall to fall, God gave specific instructions.
2. Specific Instructions:
a. Destroy everything but Rahab. Joshua 6:17 says 17And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. – The city was cursed. Only Rahab, the prostitute, would be allowed to live after the attack.
b. Don’t take anything that is already cursed. Joshua 6:18 says 18And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. – God told them not to take what is already cursed. This will only in turn make them cursed. When you take something from the land that is cursed, then you will cause the curse to come to your camp.
c. Take the gold, silver, brass, and iron and add it to the Lord’s treasury. Joshua 6:19 says 19But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.- God told them to go into Jericho, walk through the rubbish of the wall, but they were instructed not to take anything. God did however tell them to take the silver, gold, and vessels of brass and iron, and put it into the treasury of the Lord. Joshua 6:24 says 24And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.- The children of Israel took this powerful city of Jericho and burnt it to the ground.
3. Why they can’t they beat Ai?
a. Prayer won’t fix this situation. Joshua 7:10 says 10And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? – Prayer is not going to fix what you need fixed in this situation.
b. Israel has sinned. Joshua 7:11 says 11Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. – Israel has sinned. They took the cursed thing and bought a curse to their camp. They have a crooked person in their camp and they took Gods stuff, jacked it up, and made it look like it belonged to them by putting it with their stuff. Malachi said you are cursed with curse, because you have taken Gods tithe. In other words, when you take what belongs to God, you are cursed with a curse.
c. The curse must be destroyed. Joshua 7:12 says 12Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.-Ai beat them, because they had a curse. God says unless they destroyed the cursed thing among them, he would not be with them anymore. They had a fellow in the camp called Achan that had kept the things God instructed them not to take.
Proverbs 28:13 says 13He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Numbers 32:23 says 23But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. – Lots of you are secretly doing stuff that is not constant with God’s word. They are causing their blessing to be retard. Anything that hinders your blessing means you have given too much power to it.
d. You must sanctify yourself. Joshua 7:13 says 13Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you. – God says get up and sanctify the people. Achan refuses to obey. It is that spirit that sits back and says they are going to do what they want to do, regardless to what God says, that is our problem. We are tired of dealing with stuff that is hindering our breakthrough. Achan will always be out of order. You have to learn how to remove your Achan. You can pray all you want, but until you deal with the sin in your camp, you won’t get victory over the little bitty stuff that is hindering you. You have to get up and sanctify yourself. Our problem is we just keep moving Achan around instead of removing it. It is like going to the doctor and the doctor saying, “We got the cancer out of your body and we want to put it into your brain”. This will not work. No matter what, Achan has to go!
4. Toleration spawns irritation, which spawns revelation, which spawns confrontation that spawns elimination, and then consecration. When you tolerate something long enough, it will irritate you. God will give you revelation, and he will say that we must have a confrontation. Then we will have to tell Achan it is time for elimination. This will bring on a time of consecration. We have to say goodbye to our Achan. Until we deal with our Achan, we will be stressed out over Ais.
III. Determined to move forward
1. To accomplish what God has, requires reassessing. All the places and things you should have now, is because you have been tolerating it.
2. We must:
a. Regain our focus.- Some of you are here or reading this, because you are more focused now than ever before. You just want more of God.
b. Reinforce your faith-Don t let him/Achan mess you up.
c. Remember you can fight- We will forget that we just defeated Jericho. You have fight in you and God has his hand on you.
3. There was a concept in the Hebrew bible called corporate personality. This suggests that when a person sinned, when they were dealt with, so was the whole family. They just didn’t put Achan out. They put the whole family out. Everything has to go. Once Achan was gone, they got it straight. Joshua 7:24-26 24And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. 25And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. 26And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.
4. Joshua 8:1 says 1And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
5. We have to have:
a. Positive Posture – We have to get in position to receive the blessing.
b. Prophetic promise – You don’t see yourself with it. You have to see yourself with it before you get it. See yourself healed delivered and set free, before you ask the Lord for it.
c. Purposeful praise – If we can handle the big victory, know that we can handle little one!