In the post Godly Path + Godly Perspective = God’s Peace, we learned that Jesus is the Godly Path, and that God’s Word is the Godly Perspective. In the post Right Path but the Wrong Perspective, we saw that the equation or formula for peace must remain in that ratio. One cannot achieve God’s Peace without both elements. Many times in life we can look like we are doing the right thing, that is following the Godly Path, but we can look like we want to do the right thing but in heart and mind we are thinking the contrary. I describe that as following the Right Path but the Wrong Perspective.
Then, there are times when we do not look like we are doing the right thing, that is not following the Godly Path, nor do we have the right thinking or Godly Perspective. We know we are wrong and we do it anyway. I call that Wrong Path and Wrong Perspective. We will go to the Word of God for another example. There are countless examples of disobedience from the Word of God or from our very own lives. In Joshua 6, the conquest of Jericho, a very fortified city, by the Israelites is told. It is where Joshua and the people marched around the city seven times, gave a shout and the walls surrounding the city fell down. Hear what Joshua told the Israelites as they prepared to enter the city.
“16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”
God gave them the direction to burn everything in the whole city and everything in it save some precious metals which were to go into his treasury. This was the Godly Path. It is what they were to do. The Godly Perspective was to view that everything in the city belonged to God. Everything? Now, I want you to imagine that the men who were executing God’s will, that is the Godly Path, were also bringing out the silver, gold, bronze and iron which were sacred to the Lord and to go into His treasury.
Now, you already know that there was at least one who did not do right, who followed the Wrong Path and Wrong Perspective. This person did what he wanted to do rather than what God wanted him to do. If they chose to be disobedient, Joshua had given them the warning that they would bring about their own destruction by taking any of them.
Let’s go to Joshua 7 to see what happened.
But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.
2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and spy out the region.” So the men went up and spied out Ai.
3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” 4 So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.
6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?”
10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.
13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.
14 “‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the Lord chooses shall come forward clan by clan; the clan the Lord chooses shall come forward family by family; and the family the Lord chooses shall come forward man by man. 15 Whoever is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done an outrageous thing in Israel!’”
16 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was chosen. 17 The clans of Judah came forward, and the Zerahites were chosen. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was chosen. 18 Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was chosen.
19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and honor him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the Lord.
24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.”
Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.
Because Achan chose the Wrong Path and Wrong Perspective, the Israelites lost the battle. In fact, they did not just lose; they were routed. The fear and dread that the peoples in the land assumed when the Israelites conquered Jericho was gone. The tables turned. Instead of having confidence, the Israelites were now the ones in fear because of the lost battle. The Word says, “At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.” We lose our place with God, our peace with God, and the power of God when we are disobedient. When we are disobedient, the people of God lose out too.
Not only did the Israelites lose those things, Achan and his whole family were stoned and burned to death as a consequence of Achan’s sin. Achan’s sin impacted not only his life but the life of his entire family. What does that say about the impact of our sin on our family? We need to get real serious about choosing the Wrong Path and Wrong Perspective. We cannot do what we want and think that what is God’s is ours to decide without their being serious consequences.
Today, in view of Achan, his family and the people of God, consider your life in light of following the Wrong Path and Wrong Perspective.