Honing the Soul

10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. (Joshua 7:10-12)

In Joshua 7, Israel was soundly defeated by the city of Ai. Why? Hadn’t the Lord promised to give the land and its inhabitants to Israel? Yes, he did! However, Israel, namely Achan of the tribe of Judah, had kept some of the precious spoils from Jericho, hiding them in the ground under his tent, that belonged in the Lord’s treasury. One man’s sin, which was likely known by the rest of his family, brought humiliation and defeat to Israel at Ai. The problem was not the Lord God failing to keep his promise, rather the Israelites failed breaking covenant with God. God rebuked Joshua saying, “Get Up!” (7:10), for accusing God of breaking faithfulness with Israel. Sin is a cancer to Israel, to the Church, to a family — not just the person acting in sin. Sin is never a private matter. Have you ever heard someone say they do not believe in God because of the people within the church? Some of you have. If sin is not addressed and dealt with, it will contaminate your family and the Church (see 1 Corinthians 5). None of us should ever be deceived that “my private sin” will not effect the other people in my life. Persistent, unrepentant sin will bring shame on the individual, the family, and the church (local or universal). This is why we need to quickly turn from sin and build accountability relationships with other Christians. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15), and Paul the Apostle reminds us, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:9-11).  Bear the Image of God well! (Imago Dei).

Let this hymn be your prayer: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
man-kneeling-praying-repenting.jpgWeak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready waits to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r:
He is able, He is able,
He is willing, doubt no more.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him:
This He gives you, this He gives you,
’Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all:
Not the righteous, not the righteous,
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Agonizing in the garden,
Your Redeemer prostrate lies;
On the bloody tree behold Him!
Hear Him cry, before He dies,
“It is finished!” “It is finished!”
Sinner, will not this suffice?

Lo! th’ incarnate God, ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood;
Venture on Him, venture wholly;
Let no other trust intrude:
None but Jesus, none but Jesus,
Can do helpless sinners good.

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