Monday, October 23, 2006

the seen & the unseen

The City of Jericho, one of the most well-fortified cities during that time, was the first city the Israelites conquered in their campaign to possess the promised land of Canaan. Accordingly, God commanded that the spoils of conquest be devoted to God (Joshua 6:17-19) unlike all other conquests that would follow.

But one man's disobedience (7:1) caused humiliating defeat before their next city of conquest - Ai. The three thousand armed Israelites were routed before the seemingly insignificant army of the peopel of Ai and even resulted in 36 blind-siding fatalities of war.

God reproaches the despairing leader Joshua and tells them why God was not with them in their next battle at Ai in Joshua 7:10-12:

The LORD said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 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. 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.

Finally, the next morning, through lot, Achan of the tribe of Judah is singled out as the culprit, and he and his family along with all his possession in destroyed.


Achan's sin began with what he "saw":

Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath." (7:20-21)

Someone said the eyes are the portals through which Satan works; whereas the ears are the portals through which God works.

The woman fell prey to Satan's temptations because she "saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye..." (Gen 3:6) King David "saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful..." (2 Sam 11:2)

Many of our sins begin with what we see with our eyes. Apostle John warns of the "lust of his eyes" as one of three things that mark the fallen world or sin nature in man.

The word "saw" in Achan's confession before Joshua and the Israelites is a significant word that goes beyond mere physical visual act: the root meaning denotes weighing of something's worth, to consider carefully, to observe with growing attention - in other words, worship. Achan "worshiped" what he saw, hence taking it was only a matter of time, all too easy when his greed and desire weighed heavily against God's command.


Achan not only brought destruction on himself, but on all his family, who presumably from the narrative, were partakers of his sin since he hid the stolen plunder in his tent, a housing shared with all his family members. And even more far-reaching repercussion of his hidden sin was that the people of Israel were not liable to fear and dread from their surrounding enemies in the promised land who would no doubt know of their humiliating defeat. His one sin, seemigly harmless to any other soul affected the entire community.

God told Joshua that the Israelites could not stand against the enemy.

Sin does that.

Especially hidden, "un-dealt with" sins.


God gave us a way to overcome the temptations of this world which relentlessly bombards us with audio-visual messages of pleasure and success and means to satisfy our every fleshly need and desire: it is so simple, we often miss it.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)

The key to overcoming such temptation, to not falling prey to deceiving pleasures of this fallen world with all its devices to draw us further away from God, and to remaining faithful to our calling in Christ is in our determination and obedience to His Word - a disciplined mind that fixes its faith-eyes heavenward, not fooled with lies espoused by everything around us telling us this world is all there is and all there will be.

None of us were made for this world, to live apart from God. We were made to spend eternity with our Creator and Father in heaven where there are no tears, no sin, no pains, no heartaches, no disappointments, no weariness, no rejection, no loneliness, no frustrations, and no evil.

Let's fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith!

--from Nakwon EM October 22nd 11:00am Sunday Worship Service

1 comment:

jane said...