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Defiance and Defeat
by Karen Carrey
I’ve been reading in Joshua the story of how the Israelites were defeated at Ai, immediately after their resounding victory at Jericho. They couldn’t believe that after such success came crushing defeat. The Lord had led them to defeat Jericho but told them not to take any of the spoils for themselves, because certain items were to be devoted to the Lord. They were explicitly told in Joshua 6:18-19 what the Lord’s command was.
But Achan decided to disobey and take from Jericho some of the items which were to be consecrated to the Lord, and his defiance resulted in the death of himself and his family, just as God had clearly told them would happen if they disobeyed.
God finds Joshua flat on his face wailing and moping after their defeat and basically tells Joshua he can’t expect to be victorious against his enemy whilst disobedience and defiance run rampant in the camp. However he gives them a chance to put it right and come into communion with him again once the sin was purged from among them.
It made me wonder about the sins we try to hide in our own lives, as Achan did, hoping God won’t notice. The things that God can’t bless us in. The things that cause Him to turn His face from us because He is a Holy God. Are we being defeated in areas of our lives and pretending we don’t know why? Are we on our faces crying out to the Lord, “Why me?” when we know we are breaking his commands and breaking His heart? Do we think there are no consequences to our sin? Of course there are. Unless we get before God and confess, seeking his forgiveness, the consequence will be the same as Achan faced. Spiritual and physical death. But our God is as God of forgiveness and if we are truly repentant, he restores us to Himself once again.
Each of us may have our own “accursed thing” that is keeping us from a closer walk with God. Have we gone our own way even though He’s blessed us and given us victory in certain areas of our lives? Have we become cocky in our own strength? Do we think we know better and can flout his commands and expect Him to turn a blind eye? When God gives us his Word, and we deliberately disobey it, we have no excuse. We cannot say “but I didn’t know …” because he makes his expectations very clear in His Word. Whether we like them or not is a different matter. We are to be consecrated and set apart, a holy people, not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of our minds. What things do we need to fall on our face before God about, sincerely seeking his forgiveness and help?
God does not bless us with financial gain, perfect health and a bigger house, just because we’re saved or because we speak it into existence with positive words. He promises us that in the final analysis, all things will work together for good (Romans 8:28) but we’re told we will have trouble in this world. The good news is that Christ has overcome the world. Addressing the hidden sin in our lives is not your guarantee to a happy-ever-after on this earth, but it is the key to a closer walk with your Saviour.
It’s important for all of us to turn over to God, those things that we know the Holy Spirit is convicting us of. Flirting with your co-workers is not innocent. Gossiping is not harmless. Arrogance is not becoming. Immodesty is provocative and Jezebel-like. Impatience is not “just the way you are”. Sleeping with your partner just because you’re getting married anyway, is not ok. Seek His Word. Pursue holiness.
Obedience brings victory, but defiance brings defeat.
Lord open our eyes to the accursed things in our own lives that we may gain favour in your eyes and be close to you once again.
–Originally published at Faith and Food Chat, January 27, 2016
Karen Carrey is a 40-something wife and mother of two teenagers. She loves to read, bake, cook, and find like-minded Christian women. She was saved at an early age and continues to work out her salvation with fear and trembling. One of her favorite passages is Isaiah 43:2-4. Karen blogs at Faith and Food Chat.