After reading through the Joshua text for this week, I was left dumbfounded. We left off last week at the end of chapter 8 as Joshua and the Israelite people had lost their way but they were led back to renew their relationship with God. That event should have been a game changer…giving them a new perspective and deeper appreciation for the God who was with them and guiding them in all their decisions.
In chapter nine only fourteen verses from the time of renewal, it says “…but they did not consult the Lord.” I don’t know how much time had passed from the one event to the next, but could they have forgotten that quickly? Could they have abandoned God’s direction without a second thought? It is almost as if Joshua and the leaders decided that this decision was easy enough to make without God’s help or guidance. This decision was surely a sin and it is a sin that would have consequences that would affect all the people of Israel.
I don’t think the people of God spend enough time talking about sin. It is a subject that most people realize, but don’t really like to talk about. When we do talk about it I think the reaction is usually, “I know someone who needs to really hear about that” or “I know this one guy that is a lot worse than me.” We don’t want it to be a message about our sin or the consequences that will come from something I did.
Sin has a way of avoiding the conversation all together. We wink at sin and toy with it because it somehow isn’t that big of a deal. As Christians we think whats the worst thing that could happen…I am forgiven. Christ took the punishment for our sin, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to live with the consequences of the choices we have made. We have all seen it and been a part of it. I am sure we can all look back and see the bad choices we have made and consequences that we have had to live with. We need to be aware that sin has physical, emotional and spiritual consequences that are very much apart of our reality. When we fail to take it seriously, we create bigger problems that can end badly.
Thanks be to God that we don’t have to endure this pain and tribulation all by ourselves. Even when we fail time and time again, God is there to pick us up, dust us off and send us on our way. When we fall there may be bumps and bruises but God binds the broken.
My daughter recently was talking to me about reading Hebrews chapter 11, the great chapter of faith. She said she highlighted a lot of the passage because even those people had to live by faith. I was glad that she identified what people often miss…everyone is a sinner but God calls all sinners to the same salvation through Jesus Christ. Even those people we often hold up on pedestals had times they fell, but they lived by faith knowing God was in control. Their sins led to significant consequences that are highlighted in Scripture, but God used the good and bad for his purpose. Our sin is not highlighted for all to see, but the same remains true today; God can take the good and bad to make it good for his purpose.
Sin and its consequences can leave us in a hole and make us feel as though there is no way out. Don’t let sin have the final word. Christ died for our sin and went through the hell we deserved. He rose again so that we know we have victory. Therefore sin should have no hold on us or have any power in our lives. As we live our lives let us be on guard against sin and its effects, but focus more energy on serving our neighbor as Christ has called us to. That will be an act that will also have consequences, positive consequences.
How have you reacted to the consequences of your sin? Did you think it was unfair? Why? How have consequences shaped your life today?