Joshua 7:20, 21
“When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it,” Joshua 7:21.
As the children of Israel began to take the Promised Land, their first major conquest was the city of Jericho. God ordered Joshua to destroy the entire city, except for Rahab and her home and to devote all the gold, silver and vessels of bronze and iron to Him. Once God brought the walls of Jericho down, everything seemed to go according to God’s plan. Victory was enjoyed by all, and Joshua led the people to the next conquest—Ai. The conquest of Ai was not successful, however, and it was soon discovered that someone had been disobedient to God’s orders and had stolen what was rightfully God’s. That someone was Achan.
In the chaos of Jericho’s destruction, Achan stumbled upon an opportunity to make himself wealthy which he simply could not resist. What he stole was equivalent to a year’s wages, and it seemed nobody else knew about it. God knew, though, and the entire nation suffered because of one man giving in to temptation.
Do you find it difficult to resist temptations brought on by greed? The story of Achan is a great reminder that, when we give in to temptations, our families and communities will suffer as a result. The next time you are tempted to take something that is not yours, consider the ramifications that fostering a culture of stealing would create. Remember: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6).
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you be content today?
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat,” Genesis 3:6.
Temptations come in many forms and every one of us has a weakness or two. What are your weaknesses? Maybe you lack strength to resist the temptations of power, wealth, possessions, food or lust; whatever our weaknesses may be, it is important to remember that temptations do not come from God (James 1:13). Maybe you are thinking, Well, of course, God does not tempt me to sin! That is not too difficult to understand. The problem, however, lies in the fact that we are led astray by our desire to play the role of God in our own lives. When we sin, we decide to take control of our lives out of God’s hands because we think we know better than He knows.
Think about Eve’s temptation for a minute. What was it that led her and Adam astray in the garden? It was the idea that, somehow, God was cheating them by forbidding them to eat from one tree in the garden. There were thousands of trees from which they could eat, but only one that was forbidden, and that was the one they wanted. They were tempted by their own pride, desiring to be in control of their own destinies.
Every temptation we face begins in the same way. We think we know better than God, and, instead of humbly trusting Him, we venture down the path governed by pride, giving in to our own desires. What do we find at the end of that path? We find disappointment, discouragement and despair. Why? It is because we make terrible gods.
1 Peter 1:3-9
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations,” 1 Peter 1:6.
President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat” (The Strenuous Life, April 10, 1899).
The Christ follower is a person who knows something of victory and defeat. It takes great humility to admit you are incapable of saving yourself, but it is necessary to die to self to live for Christ. When we enter into relationship with God through faith in Christ, we are guaranteed ultimate victory based on what Christ has done on Calvary. In the mean time, however, there are trials, struggles, temptations and persecutions. God allows us to go through these trials because they test the genuineness of our faith. Like gold purified in the fire, we should allow our faith to be purified by the trials we encounter. Trials and tribulations remind us of the cost of pursuing Christ and that God is our only hope and satisfaction. We may weep and wail temporarily, but we should never forget the victory that awaits us at the end of the road. “Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies” (Psalm 108:13).
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you trust God in your trials today?