Yesterday we considered the Valley of Achor (Joshua 7), the “valley of pain and trouble.” We conclude today by noting that not only does its history demonstrate how sin subtly overtakes us, but it also shows us sin’s results.
First, sin defeats us. As noted yesterday, Israel relied not on God but on her own understanding of the situation and so took only a small army of “about three thousand men” to Ai (Jos_7:4). The result of that attitude of self-sufficiency, along with Achan’s action of disobedience, was not only Israel’s defeat—her men “fled before the men of Ai” (Jos_7:4)—but also her disgrace, as the army of Ai “chased [her]” as she retreated (Jos_7:5; Jos_7:12). Indeed, sin destroys, dishonors, and debases us.
Second, sin hinders fellowship with God. As God Himself declared, “Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people” (Jos_7:12-13). Accursed appears six times in Jos_7:11-15. The Hebrew is chērem (H2764), which speaks here of “devoted to destruction.” While Jericho itself was “accursed” (Jos_6:17-18), Israel had permitted that accursed thing to enter the camp, so God demanded that it be purged before she could know full fellowship again. While God “will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb_13:5), and while the true believer does not lose fellowship with God, since such fellowship is part of salvation (1Jn_1:3), fellowship and communion are certainly hindered by sin.
Third, even with confession, the results of sin remain. While Achan admitted his sin (Jos_7:20-21), he and his family were still put to death (Jos_7:23-25). While this might seem harsh to some today, it is a consistent principle. Even though God forgives us, the “wages of sin is death” (Rom_6:23), which is why Jesus had to die for sin. While God can certainly forgive, each sin can still have consequences.
Fourth, sin affects others. Achan’s sin affected his entire family (who were probably accomplices, see Deu_24:16), as he led them astray into sin. Even his innocent livestock and possessions were destroyed (Jos_7:24). One of Satan’s most effective lies is reflected in the often-used phrase, “My sin only affects me.” Families, churches, and entire nations are affected by the sin of individuals. Let us steer clear of the Valley of Achor.
Scriptures for Study: Read the following, noting what each says about sin: Jer_17:9-10; Jer_23:24; Amo_9:3. What is our provision for sin in those times it does overtake us (1Jn_1:9)?
IRA M. Allen
Sunday school: “the most successful opponent of the Prince of darkness”
In 1824 the “Latter Day Luminary,” a Baptist magazine for promoting missions, reported, “The Sunday School properly conducted is the greatest and most successful opponent of the Prince of darkness….Let these schools be cherished, let them be increased; soon the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the wilderness shall blossom as the rose.”
In time, Sunday school associations appeared, but these did not meet the need of Baptist churches, for literature had to be supplied that taught the Baptist distinctives. One of the first to see this need was Ira M. Allen, agent of the Baptist General Tract Society. In 1832 Allen wrote, “As it is, a part of the truth of God is excluded from all the Sunday School books published by the American Union, which furnish the principal reading for hundreds of thousands of youth throughout the land. And we, as a denomination, have not a single book for Sunday Schools, containing our distinguishing sentiments.”
“This was finally accomplished on April 30, 1840, in New York City when representations from fifteen states, from New Hampshire to Louisiana, voted to change the complexion and name of the tract society to ‘The American Baptist Publication and Sunday School Society.’”For the first time, it was possible for Baptist Sunday schools to secure biographical, doctrinal, and historical material written from a Baptist perspective.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 175-176
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http://the-trumpet-online.com For those interested, here is the place I get Baptist History. I am sure there would be a book available if interested. One would need to question by email to find availability. I do believe the title of the book would be – “This Day in Baptist History” Authored by Cummins Thompson.
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; . . . with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation,” Isaiah 12:2, 3.
In his best moment, man is still a cup of dirt mixed with water. Add Jesus and man is a light bearer. Without Jesus, man realizes how vulnerable he is; therefore, he must search his entire lifetime for security and safety. Ecclesiastes 3:11 states, “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart.”
Jesus entered into the world offering eternity with the Creator, and man must choose. Shall I surrender that which I cannot keep to gain that which I cannot lose? The lost man made in God’s image wants to control his own destiny. He will do everything he can to create his eternity on earth. All the while, every evidence tells him nothing on earth is permanent. Isaiah 12:3 tells us to trust in Him and we can have joy drinking from the wells of salvation.
In his quest to determine his own destiny, lost man’s mind devised a system whereby he could believe that he created his own self as he struggled up the chain of evolution and, thus, eliminate the Creator or a system of justice by which he will be judged. In his confusion he has made himself very complicated. God simply says repent, believe, confess and ask and all the glories of Heaven are yours. Jesus does not just cause our salvation, He is our salvation.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John3:36).
The most common Hebrew word translated wilderness is miḏbār (H4057), which appears about 250 times. The literal idea, of course, is that of a desert, or other such uninhabited wasteland (Deu_32:10; Job_38:26), such as the great Sinai wilderness (Deu_2:7; cf. Exo_19:1-2; Lev_7:38), or sometimes even vast pastureland (Joe_2:22; Psa_65:12). Besides Sinai, many other tracts of wilderness are referred to including Beersheba (Gen_21:14), Sin (Exo_16:1; Exo_17:1), Judah (Jdg_1:16; Psa_63:1 title), Damascus (1Ki_19:15), Shur (Exo_15:22; Exo_16:1), and Egypt (Eze_20:35).
The figurative ideas behind miḏbār, however, provide deep application. One of the concepts represented by wilderness is that of trial and testing. A dominant theme throughout the Pentateuch, for example, is Israel’s presence in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. Deu_8:2, in fact, explicitly states that the desert was a place to prove whether Israel would obey God’s commandments. Sadly, she repeatedly failed, from grumbling about food (Exo_16:2-3) and water (Exo_17:1-3), to her idolatry at Mount Sinai (Exodus 32), to her ultimate failure in “the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh” (Num_13:26; see Numbers 13-14)), where the people were afraid to enter the Promised Land. This resulted in their having to wander in the wilderness for forty years, demonstrating that judgment is also represented by wilderness.
Two other ideas pictured in a wilderness, however, are positive, namely, solitude and preparation. David felt he could be at rest in the wilderness away from people (Psa_55:6-7) and had the opportunity to seek God early in the morning while in the wilderness (Psa_63:1). God took Moses into the wilderness to prepare him for what he would face (Exo_2:15 ff, Midian was located either in Arabia, east of the Gulf of Aqaba, or in the Sinai Peninsula). Likewise, John the Baptist was prepared in the wilderness (Mat_3:1-4), and our Lord Himself spent forty days and nights in the wilderness, where he experienced all the above (Mat_4:1-2). Further, on at least one other occasion He “withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed” (Luk_5:16).
Dear Christian Friend, even if you live in a city of a million people, you live in a wilderness—it is called the world. Your faith will be tried and tested every day, but God is using the trials and testing to prepare you and to prove He is there with you.
Scriptures for Study: What does Php_2:14 command? Read 2Co_11:23-30. Besides “perils in the wilderness,” what else did Paul suffer, and what was his attitude?
A Call for the Ongoing of the Gospel
The mission’s magazine that was used to stir Judson
Pastors Samuel Stillman of Boston’s First Baptist Church and Thomas Baldwin of Boston’s Second Baptist Church were the prime movers behind the establishing of the mission, and the two churches issued a call to the other Baptist churches in the state to unite for the purpose of the ongoing of the gospel. The appeal was dated April 29, 1802, and the meeting was held in the First Baptist Church. “The object of this Society shall be to furnish occasional preaching, and to promote the knowledge of evangelistic truth in the new settlements within these United States; or further if circumstance should render it proper.” “At once they sent out their first missionaries: John Tripp, Isaac Case and Joseph Cornell. . . . The three were to find their own horses, but they were to have a weekly salary of five dollars plus expenses. They were to keep clear of politics, to keep an exact journal, and primarily to evangelize and encourage those people so sadly deprived, by distance and isolation, of church ministries.
In 1803 the society established The Massachusetts Missionary Magazine. It was the September of 1809 issue of this magazine that Adoniram Judson was stirred so as to offer himself for missionary service to India.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 174
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Baptists split over Slavery
Before the break of the southern brethren to begin their own convention, some of the northern brethren met and formed the American Baptist Anti-Slavery Convention. It held its first session in New York City, beginning on April 28, 1840. The northern Baptists addressed their southern equivalents as follows: “It is our firm conviction that the whole system of American slavery, in theory and practice, is a violation of the instincts of nature, — a perversion of the first principle of justice, —and a positive transgression of the revealed will of God. . . . Thus we behold, in all the Scriptures a virtual and total condemnation of American slavery.”
After much maneuvering on the part of brethren from the North and South to affect some compromise, a test case was presented to the Home Society when a slaveholder was presented as a missionary candidate. The candidate was rejected, and this brought about the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845. The schism would prove permanent, but even then fraternal relations were continued by some, and the phenomenon can only be explained by the commonality of faith.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 173
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Saved, Baptized, Called to Preach
The power of Holy Spirit conviction
Otis Robinson was asked to open his home for the occasion of having Rev. Eliaphalet Smith to preach in Livermore, Maine. Otis did not stay but later asked his wife what was the Sermon topic: “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Though convicted, it was several weeks of great conviction before Robinson obtained the peace of salvation.
On April 27, 1793 Robinson was baptized by Smith and united with others in forming a Baptist church in Livermore. His growth in grace was rapid, and soon he experienced the call of God upon his heart to preach. Being licensed by the church, he visited the town of Sanford and preached several Lord’s Days in a Baptist church there. He was called to become their pastor and was ordained on June 7, 1798 the day of his 34th birthday. His ministry was blessed of the Lord in revival, and the work grew as he baptized one hundred and sixty-five there and many others in his itinerant work throughout the area.
Having a heart burdened for missions, Robinson resigned in the fall of 1809 and moved to Salisbury, Hew Hampshire, to establish a church. In the spring of 1810, he had gathered enough converts to begin a church and was settled as pastor. His labors were continued for sixteen years, and he finally resigned the pastorate in 1826. The church had grown to one hundred and thirty members and many more were in attendance.
Dr. Dale R. Hart Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 171.
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“He is the Rock; his work is perfect. For all His ways are judgment, a God of truth and without iniquity; just and right is he,” Deuteronomy 32:4.
From Genesis to Revelation God is represented as the Rock of our salvation, and man is represented as dust. In Daniel 2:34, 35, the rock is used to illustrate Christ’s return in judgment. The King of righteousness will rule the world with a rod of iron. The Prince of peace will have peace or else, and His kingdom will never end. God will cast the last stone, justice will prevail and the works of man will turn to dust.
In the desert, the rock or mountain was the only shade from the sun’s destruction. In the shadow of the mountain, David found rest from the battles of life and refreshing waters to quench his thirst. God brought water from the rock for His people in the wilderness, and Paul said that Rock was Christ. Jesus taught that when we build our house on the shifting sands of the world, it will fall. But, the house built on the solid Rock will stand the storms of life. We must all build on the solid Rock that will hold our lives together or we build in vain.
Even the biblical anchor was a huge boulder buried deeply on the beach. A forerunner was chosen from among the mariners to swim ashore with a rope and tie off the ship to the rock anchor. Then, the sailors could hold to the rope and make it to shore safely. Thank God for the forerunner who has gone before and tied us to the throne of God for safekeeping (Heb. 6:18-20).
He is the solid Rock compared to our dust running through the hour glass. Tie up and hang on—your little bark is in good hands.
“As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me,” Psalm 55:16.
Sometimes our battles (tests of faith) are not only for our benefit but also for a testimony of faith to others; for example, the life of David.
David defeated Saul, and then Absalom his own son raised an army against him. Absalom’s head got caught in a tree limb giving the opportunity for Joab and his soldiers to kill him. His death grieved David. After that, and before he had time to fully grieve Absalom’s death, another foe raised his head. Following that, David endured a three year drought and another battle with that Philistine army, the giant’s (whom David defeated) own giant sons and a giant brother, including a twelve toed, twelve fingered son. (See 2 Samuel 21:20.)
Test after test, battle after battle seemed to have overtaken David’s life and, yet, his faith in God did not falter. David testified of God’s greatness as he penned the words found in Psalm 18. David’s faith in God echoes throughout the ages as a living testament of God’s goodness, greatness, mercy, providence, intervention and His righteous judgment.
While it is true David was betrayed, he did not take a defeatist attitude. Instead, he turned to God and turned his enemies over to God. What does your testimony of faith say, and is it worth repeating? Someone is watching you.
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him (2 Sam. 22:31).
No discussion of the OT offerings and sacrifices would be complete without an examination of Passover. Appearing only seven times, the Hebrew verb pāsach (H6452) is actually quite ordinary, meaning “to leap, pass over, halt, limp,” and perhaps even “to protect.” In the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, for example, the prophets “leaped upon” the altar in their attempt to get their god to respond; this was undoubtedly some kind of ritual dance (1Ki_18:26). Just before this (1Ki_18:21), Elijah had asked the people, “How long halt [i.e., dance or bounce back and forth] ye between [the] two opinions?” of God and Baal. It is also used of Mephibosheth, who at five years old fell and “became lame” (2Sa_4:4).
By far the most significant use of pāsach (and the derivative noun pesach, H6453) appears in Exodus, its first occurrence, in fact. We first read in Exo_12:13; Exo_12:23; Exo_12:27 that when God saw the blood properly placed on the door posts and lintel, He would “pass over” (or “leap over”) that household and the plague of the death of the firstborn would not touch it. One authority suggests that in light of Isa_31:5—“As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it”—pāsach also carries the idea of “to defend or protect.” At that first Passover, therefore, the Lord protectively covered the houses of the Israelites and would not allow the death angel to enter.
The Passover is, indeed, the most vivid, dramatic, and powerful OT foreshadowing of the atonement the Lord Jesus would accomplish on the cross once for all (Heb_10:10). No NT passage, therefore, is clearer than 1Co_5:7-8 : “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” This declares not only the reality of the Passover Lamb, but the practical result of His atonement, namely, holiness of life. As the OT Passover clearly separated the godly from the pagans, God’s NT people are saved to be holy (Eph_1:4; 1Pe_1:15-16) and separate from the world (2Co_6:14-18).
Scriptures for Study: What does 1Co_5:9-11 teach about separation?