Have You Been Unfaithful in Regard to the Devoted Things?

Today, I am going away from the book of John. As I was walking this morning, I felt the Spirit leading me to Joshua 7. It is one of my favorite passages. It reveals so many things about God, Israel, and man in general. It shows how God deals with the  sinfulness of man as well as His justice, mercy and forgiveness. It shows God’s heart for Himself and His people. For me, it shows the depth of damage regarding the sin we commit. We tend not to think of our sin as being that bad. The text dispels that notion right away as God declares that “the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things.”

Consequently, I was asked the rhetorical question of Have You Been Unfaithful in Regard to the Devoted Things? Beyond God and Joshua, the main character is Achan. Achan is a soldier and a family man. He is like the regular person. As a soldier, he had orders during battle. At various times when God sent the Israelites into battle, there would be times were when He would tell the Israelites not to take any plunder, to destroy everything. Those things were called the devoted things or the accursed things. In one of those instances, Achan secretly took some of the devoted things and hid them. (Note: there are no secrets before God). In the next battle at Ai, the Israelites were routed by the men of Ai loosing about 36 soldiers. They were unaccustomed to that and were horrified that lives were lost as well as the battle. After all, God was the God who fought for them. What happened?

Achan sinned. You know the question posed today, Have You Been Unfaithful in Regard to the Devoted Things?, was seen as a forgone conclusion for Him. At the time of the battle loss, no one other than God knew why they lost, God’s name over His people seemingly lost its luster. Joshua had inquired of the Lord about the loss. God told him that there was sin in the camp. Listen to what God said,

“1Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant,which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted [accursed] 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.

Achan and his entire family along with all his possessions were stoned and burned. God does not play when it comes to sin. Thank God for Jesus who is the mercy and grace of God in relation to redemption, the forgiveness of sin. Despite that, I do not want us to get lost in forgiveness. God still has the devoted or accursed things that He does not want us to possess. God When we sin, we make ourselves liable to destruction as God removes Himself from our presence. In Luke 10, an expert in the Law asked Jesus what must he do to inherit eternal life. “27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” The devoted or accursed things today are anything that contends for your heart, soul, strength and mind. Well, that is everything other than God.

Have You Been Unfaithful in Regard to the Devoted Things? As it was with Achan, it is a foregone conclusion that we have been unfaithful with our heart, soul, strength and mind. While God does not want us to destroy everything we come into contact with, He wants us to destroy our desire for them, our penchant for the things that contend with His preeminence in our lives. What is rivaling God’s preeminence in your life? If you are a believer, you better watch out because God will interrupt your life or change your path to protect you from the end that Achan experienced. Let’s not be like Achan and desire things then steal them, lie about it and then hide them. Who could enjoy anything like that. Let’s live in the freedom that God has given us not in the bondage of concealing sin.

Have You Been Unfaithful in Regard to the Devoted Things? Acknowledge your sin, ask God to forgive you and move forward before greater consequences occur. Remember, Achan, his family, his animals, and all his possessions were destroyed. God does not play about Himself. If you are a believer, you belong to Him. He will deal with you. Humble yourself before the Lord that He might lift us up.


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