Achan and Ishmael

Ok, so I am on this “why you should never do that again,” and the other revelation statement, “Oh, that’s why you should do this….”  If you have ever stuck your hand into a hot oven and have been burned, you quickly learn to be careful around hot objects! There are certain laws in our world that are absolutes; for example, the law of thermodynamics that many of us have experienced first hand. If you have ever skinned your knee or caught a flying object you know that what goes up must come down at some point, do to the law of gravity. We really only like absolutes when they work to our advantage!  Just as there are physical absolutes I believe there are spiritual absolutes as well. Two characters stick out to me from the bible that illustrate this point. Achan and Ishmael really have nothing in common other than they both have illustrate principles that can be applied to present times. Achan had taken some of the “accursed things” from an enemy in Joshua 7. However, God had forewarned Joshua, “And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the LORD; they shall come into the treasury of the LORD” (Jer. 6:18-19).  Unfortunately, Achan lusted after the accursed things and hid them in his tent.  The narrative goes on to say that Joshua sent about 300 people to conquer the very small people of Ai.

However, the small folks of Ai routed the Israelites and killed 36 men, this was so devastating that the bible says that people of God heart’s melted like wax. This hidden sin of Achan lifted the hand of God from the people of Israel, and 36 men died from one man’s sin. This is an unsettling story for anyone who hides their sin. While I understand that we live under the covenant of grace and we can never fulfill God’s law in the flesh, the way sin affects a believer has not changed.  Grace without truth (correction in this case) is not grace at all. Achan illustrates the principle of  leaders with hidden sin in their life bringing destruction to ones they claim to love. OUCH! This brings us to Ishamel; the child NOT promised by God. Ishamel did not commit any sin, but was the by product of a leader trying to bring God’s promise to pass through human reasoning.  Abraham and Sarah deviated from what God had spoken to them because they could not understand how God was going to bring this child of promise to fruition. So the heartache begins when Abraham has sexual relations with Hagar, consequently Sarah’s jealousy is aroused and she begins to treat Hagar badly and drives her away. The rest is history, the greatest enemy Israel has ever know is born. The principle illustrated here is that works in the flesh will bring you the greatest disappointment that you can ever imagine, anything not born of God’s promise will be your enemy in the end. Now, I am always talking about sexual sin these days and what devastation it brings not only to the offender but it utterly ruins a great multitude around the offender as well.

So, pornography and the hidden sin of Achan could be compared, with deadly results to your ministry, marriage or future marriage, your children and your grandchildren could go on to feel the effects of that hidden sin. Similarly, trying to bring a promise to pass through your own understanding and devices can end in giving birth to a lifelong problem instead of being blessed by the promise of God. Fortunately for us, God has always made a way of escape for us! 1 John 1:7 puts it simply and succinctly!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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