The Effect of Disobedience
While I was a kid, my church would go to Christian Life Camp, at Mill Lake Camp, in Michigan. We met with three other churches for the week, so it was always fun to see our friends from past years . . . Ok . . . to be honest, it was mostly to see what girls they brought with them.
The camp was laid out with a bridge over a small stream, that separated two sets of cabins. On one side of the bridge were the boy’s cabins, the beach and all of the meeting buildings. The girl’s’ cabins were on the other side of the bridge. Their side of the bridge was designated as “No Man’s Land”. At no time, were the boys to cross over the bridge.
At night, there was a curfew set. When in High School, a few of us guys thought it would be a good idea to impress the girls, so we broke our curfew. We snuck from our cabin and ran over to the bridge, which was a significant distance. When we got to the bridge, we stopped and sang “Good Night Ladies”, from our side of the bridge. As soon as we were done, we headed back to our cabins. As we ran across a field, near the beach area, we could see Pastor Smith standing, a long way off, on the porch of the mess hall. He was an old, deep voiced, very proper, scary figure. That scary figure was amplified by his backlit silhouette, as he stood on the porch.
When he saw our shadows as we ran by the lake in the moonlight, he shouted, “Stop, stop! . . . Come up here right now!”. Hmm, High School boys . . . an old man, unable to run . . . standing a long way off. There was no way we were going to stop!
We made it back to our cabin and safely crawled into bed . . . or so we thought. The next day, at breakfast, Pastor Smith called us out on our harmless prank. He wanted to know who it was, that he saw the night before. No one replied. He asked again, and still, not a word . . . So all of the guys at camp, were punished for the disobedience act of a few.
As I read the about the city of Jericho falling before the people of Israel in the book of Joshua, an account of one individual’s disobedience was given. Because the result of that disobedience was recorded, I was given a picture of the heart and actions of God, as they took place. God responded like Pastor Smith . . . All of Israel suffered the consequences of one man’s sin, as did all the guys at Christian Life Camp.
As I meditated on that a bit, I became very uneasy as I considered how my disobedience, throughout my lifetime, may have affected others. As chilling as that was, the reality is, I can’t change my past; I can only strive to become more obedient to God in the future.
Lord, help me to consider the negative impact my sin has on others. I pray that I don’t live selfishly, but rather, live to make you smile as I strive to be obedient. Thank You for sending Jesus to intervene, on my behalf, for my many shortcomings. I’m so blessed that the earthly consequences of my sins, will have no standing in Your eternal kingdom. Your willingness to be punished for my sin, has enabled me to stand, sinless before Your eternal, holy throne. There is nothing that shouts, “I love you”, more than Your sinless life being put to death on behalf of my sinful life. Words cannot express . . . !
Joshua 6:15 On the seventh day they . . . marched around the city in the same manner seven times . . . 16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city . . . 17 . . . all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction . . . 18 But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. 19 But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.” 20 So the people . . . captured the city . . .
7:1 But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan . . . took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel.
2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai (to scout out for battle) . . . 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.” 4 So about three thousand men (went) . . . 5 and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men . . . And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.
6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD Israel . . . 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord GOD, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, . . . to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”
10 The LORD said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned . . . 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 . . . I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you . . .
16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, . . . 18 And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan . . . of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” (biblegateway.com, ESV)
More than just a believer in God, I need to be a follower of Jesus!