Are You Armed?

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” Eph. 6:10.

“Who’s going to know? Sin done in the darkness, in secret remains in secret, right?”  Wrong.

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” Numb. 32:23.

Joshua 6 and 7 recounts the victory of Jericho and the defeat that follows.

“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan…took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.” Josh. 7:1.

“It’s really no one’s business what I do. If I choose sin, it will only hurt me.” Wrong again.

Another victory loomed before Israel as they prepared to go against Ai. They needed only two or three thousand men to defeat Ai’s forces. So…

“…there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men…” Joshua 7:4,5.

blog soldierDespair reigned in Israel’s camp and even in Joshua, but he took it to the Lord. And the Lord spoke.

…Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned…Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies…neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you…” Josh. 7:10-12.

Sin weakens and brings fear. Sin separates from the presence of a holy God. Sin must be destroyed before it destroys. The Lord offers hope in a choice, but one way or another, sin must be removed from among you.

 

”Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, there is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you…And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath…” Josh.7: 13,15.

Achan had all night to ponder his sin and repent. I believe this was his opportunity to receive mercy and not judgment.

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy… Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Micah 7:18; Isa. 55:7).

But the morning came. Achan remained  disobedient to the word of the Lord and put himself and his family in certain judgment. As the morning proceeded, each tribe appeared before Joshua until Judah appeared, Achan’s tribe. Still no repentance, not even when Joshua called him out. When Achan’s sin found him out he confessed, but confession is not repentance. Israel executed the judgment of the Lord. How did it get to this point?

I have heard it said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. –” Ravi Zaccharias

And it begins with a look. “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel…When I saw among the spoils…Love not the world, neither the things of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes…then I coveted them and took them…and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (from Josh. 7:21; 1John 2:15-16).

For us: What’s left when we fail to guard our hearts with the breastplate of righteousness? Do we quit? Is there hope for renewal?

“Sanctify yourselves against to morrow…” Josh. 7:13; Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God…Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”( 2Cor. 2:1; 1Thess. 5:21-23).cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpeg

God takes sin seriously, so seriously He laid the sin of the world on His only Son, Jesus Christ and nailed it to the cross in His body. How seriously do you take sin?

It is time to come out from among the world armed with the breastplate of righteousness. It’s time to repent.

What does it mean to repent?

 

Heads or Tails?

blogchristian-1281948__340“Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Matt. 21:43.

“The kingdom of God shall be taken from you…But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee…The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head and thou shalt be the tail… For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies…shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Deut. 28:15,43,44; Luke 19:43-44).

 “…and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof…For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in… But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God…”(Rom. 11:25; 1Pet. 2:9,10).

The Lord God promised Israel as a nation two things: Blessings and curses. His blessings are  stated in Deuteronomy 28, as summed up in verses 1, 12 and 13. “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth…The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and do them.”

Israel has been and is the tail among nations and will be until the fullness of the Gentiles is come. I understand these blessings and curses were spoken to the Hebrews. I, also, believe the principles behind them are applicable to any nation that claims God as their God.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men…he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.” Ps. 33:12-15.

I speak, specifically, as an American to my fellow countrymen, but not to the exclusion of any other nation. We have been under the Lord God’s blessings as a nation for over two hundred years. We have enjoyed being the head and not the tail in power, riches and freedom. If He didn’t excuse Israel’s sin, how can we think He will excuse our sin. It is our sin of pride and arrogance that causes the division, hatred, confusion and immorality in our nation. It’s not the President’s fault, or our government but each individual, including the fore said.  Our own curses have come upon us.

As Daniel sought the Lord in prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes, in chapter 9, for the people of Israel, may we pray for the people of our nation. As he prayed and made confession, and said,

“O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto they servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land…As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth…O, Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God…”

 Returning to the blessedness of God can happen.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2Chron. 7:14.

The head or the tail, which will it be?