Report of M09: Terry Virgo - The Folly of Achan

  • This has been one of the most glorious weeks we have ever had!

Joshua 7 — The Sin of Achan

The previous chapter couldn’t have ended with more excitement as Jericho falls and God is with Joshua. “His fame went throughout all the land”

  • But within a few verses, Joshua is completely smashed. What happened to “No man shall be able to stand before you”?
    • “They will destroy us all!”
  • Two perspectives:
  1. What is happening to the Israelites
    • God chose Abraham as a new start, like a new Adam
      • Much of the language is like Eden, a land where my presence will be.
      • One cluster of grapes it takes two men to carry
      • This is God’s next phase of creation—cities already there ready for them
    • But there is also a “don’t touch” prohibition. The things “under the ban”
  2. what is happening to the Canaanites
    • The other aspect is that God is coming in with judgement on the nation
      • deeply corrupted in their religion
    • Joshua’s army is in one sense like Noah’s flood, or the fire of Sodom & Gomorrah
    • So it was important that they must have not fellowship with the darkness

An independent assessment results in a secret agenda

  • The way it is written is like a time-bomb. We are let into the secret in verse 7.
  1. It is right in the depth of his heart v.21 “I saw
    • Be careful what you look at. That is how Eve started!
    • Jesus used some brutal language: “If your right eye offends you, pluck it out!”
    • David was the man after God’s own heart. From the rooftop he saw a beautiful woman...
    • How come some of us go back to the place we know we can look
      • How can we be so stupid, how can we dare to do that when just a glance ruined this man
    • Don’t volunteer to see, when seeing is so dangerous
  2. He coveted. It all happened very quickly, but it is a clear process.
    • He fantasised about it and the craving dominated
    • He went from sight to something far more dangerous
      • He allowed his imagination to captivate him
    • We often focus on sexual sin, but the Bible says a lot about wealth
    • James talks about the process of lust being conceived and bringing forth death
  3. He took, physically disobeying the clear instructions from God
    • Eve was told “Don’t touch” and went against God
    • David physical took what he should not
  4. He hid. It is forbidden, so of course it has to be hidden
    • There is no joy in secret sin
    • Adam and Eve hid in the garden
    • David tried to hid his sin
    • Sin is a wrecker, a killer. Achan couldn’t enjoy what he had.
  • This whole battle of Ai turns on a double-hearted person.
  • Are we safe with you

How could this disaster have been avoided?

  1. Joshua was very quick to rush to self-sufficiency
  2. Achan completely forgot his identity and his calling
    • He failed to recall his purpose and identity in the land
    • This is not an individual thing—he is part of an army
    • He was not ruthlessly committed to God’s assessment of the situation
    • The Bible says God is angry with sin. Do you ever feel angry?
  • What about us? —Similarly with us:

1. We are not just individuals, but part of a body

  • Our culture is all about personal fulfilment
    • We die to self and get baptized into an army, a people
  • It is true that “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”, but the way he achieves this is through community
    • Beware of the “Christianity” that is all about the individual and not about the church
  • So you need to make sure that you are in a living body
    • Quote from commentary by Bruce Longernecker on Paul’s about our culture’s focus on the individual and our rights.
  • Jesus died to save a people —the corporate awareness must fill us and thrill us

2. Our identity as light and not darkness

  • You who formerly were darkness are light
    • The GNB says “in the light” but Paul says we are light
  • NT sanctification is “This is true, now live it out!”
  • Jesus has done this for us. He has made us righteous as a gift—so now live it out
    • It is not the legalism that Paul attacks in Colossi ans—Don’t touch etc. This has no power
  • Magnificent section on Lloyd-Jones’ commentary on Ephesians 5 about how we should “preach to ourselves” about who we are
  • Paul says “your body is not your own... how can you have fellowship with darkness”
    • Achan, why do you do that—you are supposed to be my light

3. The story ends with ruthless execution

  • This language of “putting to death” is brought right over to our NT with Ananias & Sapphira
  • Be ruthless because if we are not we are in danger of losing out
    • This is not just for the young—people in their middle years can be as bad.
  • If you have been raised with Christ, set your minds on things above
    • And then Paul said put to death —now you are a new man
    • because of these things the wrath of God is coming —that is the Achan story!
  • So take action, take responsibility
  • Rom 8 says that if we, by the Spirit, put to death the things of the flesh...
  • Done by the Spirit
    1. Engagement with the Spirit
    2. Enjoy the Holy Spirit and develop a relationship with him
      • Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit
      • Much easier to put to death other things when you are enjoying the Spirit
    3. Be filled with the Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit
    4. The “eschatology” of the Spirit
      • He is the promise of the age to come, the downpayment
      • It is a foretaste, heaven coming down now.
      • We are having a taste of the eternal glory. The day is at hand—light is breaking in
      • Achan you fool—light is beginning to break out—walk as children of the light
      • What are you doing playing around when the eternal glory is coming
  • Make ruthless decisions to make yourself accountable
  • Tragic situation with an elder who was my friend for many years and went off with another woman
    • He started by “seeing” and ended by losing everything, his wife, his job
  • Be ruthless. “I am not going that way” —they killed Achan

The next chapter starts:

  • Take these “people of war”
    • arise and go and take Ai
    • They went and had a great victory!
  • I urge you to be ruthless, and remember you are in an army