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Sin in the Camp

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 1, 2021 8:00 am

Sin in the Camp

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 1, 2021 8:00 am

"When we go our own way - rather than God's way - God makes sure we never get where we're going. He walls us in." On The Bible Study Hour, Dr. James Boice explains these words and how, by walling us in, God opens a door of hope for this life and for all eternity.

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When we go our own way rather than God's way. God make sure we never get where were going. He walls us in coming up with the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce explains these words and how by walling us in God opens a door of hope for this life and for all eternity. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. We can hide anything from God. It's impossible.

We know that yet so many of us try it anyway. Aiken tried it in our passage today from Joshua seven Dr. Boyce tells this dark and sobering account of Aiken's attempt then raises our eyes to see the distant glimmer of hope which follows you ever noticed in your life. What a short step for Robin is between a great victory and a great defeat.

One moment where riding high in the cloud and some great spiritual success in the next moment where plunged into the valley of some grim spiritual failure. One moment were like Elijah on Mount caramel calling down fire of God and the older the next moment were like Elijah at Horeb complaining to God asking for death saying I even I only left and now they're seeking my life to take it away so I got in the book of Joshua. Most people think of the book of Joshua where they think naturally. I believe of the great victory of the Jewish armies of Jericho, which we have in the sixth chapter of that book. We think of the armies circling the walls silence day by day repeating that action. Seven times on last of the seven days and then sounding the crumpets and shouting in the walls falling down in March again to take the city think of it as a great victory and it was only a very short step between that great victory of Joshua six and the defeat we find in the very next chapter. Chapter 7 of Joshua begins with the ominous word blocks great victory.

Yes, lots. Now the great failure. What is it that gun, or change like that and change so rapid. Commentators have suggested a number of things.

I suppose with wisdom. Some of said well the people failed because of self-confidence. Certainly there's a lot of self-confidence evident in the story the Army sends spines up to this next city.

The city of AI should lay off the mountainous ascent of the hill country and the spies came back with the report that in comparison to Jericho was a very small city, Jericho was a large military fortress that was surrounded by strong walls and I was military fortress to not nearly so large, not nearly so formidable report came back don't need the whole army door 3000 men ought to be sufficient.

What they had forgotten is that it was not the size of their army is whether great or small, that given them Jericho.

God given them Jericho. They were self-confident and so they thought well we can take it with a few and they lost some commentators have suggested that it was a lack of prayer, particularly on Joshua's part. The earlier battle had been planned undoubtedly by the Lord himself.

The commander of the host you told them what the bill from a human point of view, it was senseless to March around the walls all those times when I was God's battle plan. Joshua carried it out.

We sent so it doesn't say that explicitly in Joshua seven that this consulting of God was overlooked instead spies were sent the report came back and plans were made on the basis of the report of the spies as possible that the commentators are right when they point to those two things as the causes of Israel's failure base great amount of self-confidence and the lack of prayer too much of one too little of the other, but it is interesting that when the Failure Takes Pl. in Joshua prostrate himself along with the elders of the people before the ark of the covenants to ask what has gone wrong. It is not self-confidence or lack of prayer that God mentions. Instead, God says that there is sin in the game is really sent in sin is because of the failure interesting how this exchange takes place. Joshua says all sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us after explains what's wrong and it's perfectly evident what's wrong God replies stand up what are you doing on your face Israel's sin they violated my commandment which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things they have stolen the line they put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. We learned nothing else from this great seventh chapter of the book of Joshua we must learn that sin is one destroys victory in the life of God's people. For that reason, sin can't be tolerated and we learn something else to maybe a lot of things but one additional thing we learn is something about the birth and progress of said very seldom when we study the Bible and come across a chapter like this talks about some great spiritual failure some sin on the part of an individual or a nation that we don't find the same time.

Suggestions as to how sin comes about and very seldom just springs full-blown into our lives. Generally, there's a process by which it first insinuates itself and then sinfully nurture grows. Eventually breaks forth in destruction.

Certainly that is the case with this man.

Aiken only suggest these steps in the growth of Aiken said in the first, I think, is that Aiken was dissatisfied with what got them doing in his life that we could guess as much. Even if he didn't say anything along those lines or do anything that would seem to carry out his reaction to that dissatisfaction, we can imagine what Aiken might've said as he crossed the Jericho entered the promised land, along with the armies.

Some people of the Lord. He might've said something like this you know you look at it in a certain way. God has certainly taken care of us during these years of wandering in the wilderness for all the desert is a very inhospitable place and I don't doubt for a minute that we would all die. Derek God had intervened to take care of us gave us water from the rock manna to eat day by day in the lettuce without great pillar of fire and cloud we've all gotten lost in the desert, God hadn't done that.

We certainly are great what God is done but you know even though God has been leading us he was leading us for 40 years in the desert. Can you imagine what that's like to be led around from place to place in the desert for 40 years. I would mind being led around the promised land for 40 years. That's a place of milk and honey. So were told but 40 years in the desert is really bit much to take. You think you have a dry. In your life. You should've been with us during the 40 years of desert wandering Well aware God took care of us by feeding us because we would've died of hunger.

God had done that but after all 40 years of eating manna have any idea what manna taste like I know you don't but let me tell you this after 40 years you get so you don't like it very much man in the morning manna in the evening man all day long. You long for a good set are a chocolate sundae and I know that God was certainly good to us in providing miraculously so are close didn't wear out close never wore out 40 years of wandering, but can you imagine what it's like to wear the same thing over and over, day by day year-by-year for 40 years.

I made you begin to wonder what are they wearing this season in Jerusalem.

Wanda began to change your wardrobe. I imagine Aiken might've said something like that and in his heart, though he may, at the time never really have voiced it openly.

He was probably saying. Well, at least when we cross this river were going to get a chance to change the life for my part in the do anything I can to compensate for the lack that I've experienced during these years of wandering that suggested sin always begins that way. Sin begins with dissatisfaction with what God is doing in our lives because of course if were satisfied with trusting him were looking to limp sin doesn't have an opportunity to enter.

But when were dissatisfied. We already are setting up a breach between ourselves from God and where letting ourselves open or whatever else might come along.

This is the way Satan said you take the, Satan's fall that you have. I believe in the 14th chapter of Isaiah you find Satan there was dissatisfied with his position in the universe. God was the creator. He was the creature but he was dissatisfied to be a creature look to God and he said I will be like the most high, push God out take over from God. He wanted to be God because he was dissatisfied to be what got it made. Again you look at the story of Adam and Eve, where sin first entered into the human family and it was dissatisfaction that brought about their fall oh I know a lot of parts to it, but it had dissatisfaction at its root, Satan suggested to the woman that if she ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree should be like God, knowing good and evil course, the insinuation is that she wasn't like God she didn't know good and evil was something she really ought to know and be so by selling dissatisfaction Satan laid the groundwork for his eventual triumph.

It's the same way with us, we find ourselves to satisfied with what God is doing maybe that you have a desert experience is making you wonder I was aware for 40 years. You look ahead to that promise land you so I be happy to be satisfied if I could be in the promised land, but God isn't doing that with you just now and so you say well I'm a do what I can to improve my own situation, or you say well he hasn't given me the kinda close. I want the kind of food I'd like to eat essays not made me what I want to be. I'm not achieving success away.

I'd like to achieve it. So I do that dissatisfaction and openness to further acts of sin and disobedience occurs.

I know that there's a proper kind of Christian ambition and I don't want to minimize that the apostle Paul when he was speaking of his aspirations in life, said in his great letter to the Philippians, forgetting those things which are behind and pressing forth of those things which lie before I strive toward the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. That's a healthy Christian aspiration, the same Paul who said, I press toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus says later in that very letter. I have learned in whatever state I am to be content. Paul said in writing to Timothy godliness with contentment is great gain. And when were content were trusting God, then we are working in his goodness. Not fretting about our lax and secondly I think sin progressed.

In the case of Aiken to the point of covetousness that is, he began, that which was not his bow, according to the laws of war. The possessions of the conquered become the possessions of the conqueror, probably Aiken was thinking along these lines, he was on the Lord's side fighting with the armies of the people of Israel. He took part in the conquest is sword was part of the victory, humanly speaking, you must've said to himself. Well now I've taken this town in the I've taken this time the comp that I can take what I want. At least I can take my share of it. Aiken take all I can carry great errors that point to see either Aiken nor the armies of Israel were real conquerors in this story later on, you might argue that they were though God was giving them the victory. Even then, but certainly not in this first victory over Jericho. God was the one who gave the victory what was the conqueror and God had said it had been said explicitly that the spoil of the Bible belong to him. The precious metals, gold, silver, brass and iron were to be laid up in the treasury of the Lord and everything else was to be destroyed. Part utterly wiped out.

So when Aiken saw the silver gold in this Babylonian garment the T describes so eloquently and took them what he was really doing was stealing from the Lord is why God describes the sin of Israel the way he does.

They have taken some of the devoted things they have stolen. That is, they have stolen from me. They have lied and they'll put down that is the devoted things with their possessions but they were not there possession of the things belong to God. Francis Schaeffer has an interesting section in his commentary on Joshua in which he reflects on the nature of the things they can talk. As were two different kinds of things. One was the gold and silver that was well represented materialism of the other was this beautiful robe from babbling represented success for sophistication babbling was a great city. It was great even at this time. Later on, it became a great military power to and eventually it was the city in the nation that grew up around it that overthrew the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 BC. This was babbling, but even at this time it was a very impressive place represented the world represented the world's fashions when Aiken dissatisfied with what God was giving him said is I upon the goal which represented materialism in the garment which represented fashion or successor sophistication.

He was commenting in a way that was destined to bring destruction to his own soul. I don't think we have to labor to apply those two temptations start own day because materialism successor fashion, ability or sophistication of the great sins of our time that the sins of Christian people we want to be like the world that we want to have what the world has need to remember that the words thou shalt not covet for the 10th of the 10 Commandments and they come last because there is a summation of everything that is gone before comforting lies at the root of all the other sin we don't honor God and worship him only your coveting something else other than the true God. If we don't give him his day. We are coveting time for ourselves.

The steel we are coveting what belongs to other people, and so on. So we need to take that seriously. The deck log is given. The Lord us when it says some shalt not covet is warning us against one of the steps that led to a consent so those two steps are dissatisfaction. First of all, we often see that in our own lives coveting that's the second thing the third step along the line is action that flows from the dissatisfaction and coveting that's to say they can install assembly line about what he did and he hit these things sinners attempts where he thought they wouldn't be found.

James has a section at the beginning of his letter that really applies here is talking about temptation.

And he says in verse 13 when tempted no one should say God is tempting me for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when by his own evil desire is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. So it was a case of Aiken, so it is in our lives we allow sin to grow faster and do not bring it to God for confession, forgiveness, and cleansing the passage in James says that sin when it is not confessed and forgiven leads to death. Certainly that's what happened with Aiken. Israel was defeated at AI.

Joshua threw himself on his face before the Lord, asking God what a gone wrong, God said that was sent in the camp and then God undoubtedly directed, they began to search out the source of that sin which should lend to the defeat of the armies I did so by lots all of the tribes lined up.

I would presume there was a representative of each tribe in the lots were drawn, then the tribe of Judah was taken and that all the clans of Judah come forward. That is the Lord's family groupings send clan of Sarah was chosen from the others and families of Sarah came forward and they drew lots among the families from the lot fell on simmering and his family and finally was just a small group there this one family simmering and his sons and their wives and their daughters and they drew lots again and lot fell. We are told on Aiken Joshua said my son, give glory to the Lord.

Tell me what you have done. Do not hide it from me and Aiken expose now before Joshua and the people as well is before God did confess who said that it's true. I've sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel.

I saw on the plunder beautiful robe from Babylonia, 200 shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing 50 shekels.

I comforted them and took them there hidden in the ground inside my tent silver underneath. The story goes on.

I think as I read it that this is the most frightening part of all because it has to do with all things being brought to light. It's the exposure of the sin. So Joshua sent messengers and they ran to the tent and there it was there once hidden in the tent with the silver underneath. It took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and they spread them out before the Lord, you know, we say in the liturgy as we pray to God told God before whom all hearts are open, all desires known. We read in Scripture all things are naked and open before the eyes of him with whom we had to do this is what happened in the case of Aiken Aiken and that cobalt of the conquest thought well I can take these things nobody will not allow hide them in my robe slip off to my tent. I buried them in the sand.

Later, maybe years later when everything is quiet now, come back and nobody in Israel saw what he was doing God saw God brought it to light. You know, it may be your life in mind that there are times just like that times when we do what we ought not to do. We know we shouldn't do it. Certainly Aiken knew he shouldn't he wouldn't hidden it. If he had known. He knew we do that we hide the thing you know, but it is not hidden to God and God does not turn his back on sin. God brings it to light. We need to know that in order that we might confess it before sin brings about the death of which the apostle James speaks well, brought about Aiken's death when the stolen things were brought to light were told Joshua, with all of Israel took Aiken and his family and brought them to this valley, which later became the Valley of acorn, named after the incident, Joshua said to them, you brought disaster on us. Now God is going to bring disaster on you were told that they stoned their judgment was meted out in order that the sin might be purged from the people and the blessing of God might return. There's a point at which Francis Schaeffer speaks of another of the great continuities that we find in the book of Joshua Joshua as I said at the beginning of the studies the bridge book the bridge from the early days of the patriarchs in the desert, wondering two years of settlement in the land as a bridge between preparation and possession and as a bridge book it contains is great continuities. One is the written word of God which existed there in the desert as Moses wrote it down and as they enter the land Joshua used the written word of God and it's there later we saw how that operated second-grade continuity is the supernatural power of God was with Moses and so also wasn't with Joshua in the conquest third rate continuity was the presence of the supernatural leader, God led Moses in a Supernatural Way, God was present before the commander of the host of the Lord to guide and bless Joshua fourth grade continuity is the covenant, yet here in this matter of judgment. There is 1/5 continuity in this is the continuity of judgment in the sequence is this where there is sin.

Judgment follows where there is obedience blessing follows and it is always that way.

Francis Schaeffer writes like this. This simple yet profound process explains all the rest of the Old Testament explains the period of the judges. Of the kings, the Activity under the Syrian Bible and the Jews returned from Babylon than the Jews dispersion in A.D. 70. Under Titus that explains Romans 9 to 11, which speaks of the Jews turning away from God and yet at a future day coming back to God and once more as a nation being the people of God first comes blessing then sin answers then comes judgment. The people of God returned to him after the judgment blessing begins again and flows on this process is universal, so it is because God is unchanging God. I want to say that up to this point is our study of the seventh chapter develops. We have dealt with very little other than sin, judgment, judgment is a grim note.

It's not something that we wants when we see it's unfolding, especially unfolding a member of the people of God. We are drawn up short because we recognize that we to sin.

Judgment is something that must be reckoned with in our own lives which I'd like to end is not a note of judgment, but that note of hope and the reason I want to, and in the note of hope is that this is the way God himself handles the story in a later portion of the word of God. This valley where they stoned Aiken was named the Valley of acorn is upon on Aiken's name you can understand easily that a court is just a slight variation of the word Aiken because acorn means trouble or disaster, is why Joshua said, why have you brought this disaster on us. The Lord will bring disaster acorn upon you, and so Aiken becomes a core in the place where the stone's name Valley of acorn reason I mention that is that in the book of Hosea that phrase Valley is a core returns but returns in a most interesting way find that phrase in the second chapter of the book of Hosea in the second chapter of the book of as they have, you know that book is also a chapter of God's judgment story of Hosea and Gomer. Gomer, the unfaithful wife was runaway. In the second chapter describes how God is going to deal with this woman and her disobedience, her disobedience is a pageant of Israel's disobedience and God's dealing with horror as a pageant of God's dealings with Israel and with us the outline of this chapter is found in a threefold repetition of the word therefore she send an runaway. Therefore says God, I'm going to do something you find.

Therefore, in verse six, verse nine verse 14. Now in verse six, God says this. Therefore, I will block your path with thornbushes. I will want to rinse her. She cannot find her way. What God is saying there is that when we go our way, rather than God's way and make sure that we never get where were going. Walls Asante keeps us from finding what we want young person who says well I don't want to go the Lord's way. I want to go my way. I want to make it first and maybe years later I'll come back and serve God. Well, young person does that God make sure they never get their hearts desire God keeps them from what he lets them get close enough to taste it but never really to seize and hold it in their grasp.

God says I'm going to do that. First of all with Gomer because of her disobedience, and secondly, in verse nine God says. Therefore, I will take away my grain when it ripens that Mike when it's ready and what God is saying there is that he's going to deprive her of necessities she won't he do a still small voice of the Lord is always going to speak loudly. The fluttering of the moth doesn't get through. So God is going to bring the lion is going to take away what she needs. She's going to be hungry. Wife is not going to go well we come then diverse 14 to the third time God uses the word therefore it's in the context of the phrase the Valley of acorn occurs and when we see that at first glance were really overpowered with fear because we say look, the Valley of a court was a place of, and here is God saying because my people disobey me. First of all I'm going to keep them from getting what they want and secondly I'm in a take away life necessities and lay we come we say what God going to do it must be what else could it be what we actually find God saying is this, therefore I am now going to endure.

I will leader into the desert speak tenderly to her.

There I will give her back her vineyards. I will make the Valley of a core door of hope you read that verse and you say, who could possibly make a place of death and judgment to door of hope and the answer is not us. Certainly God is able to do it. As God was speaking God makes our Valley of a core door of hope by taking the trouble of acorn upon himself. Jesus was troubled for us. Jesus went down into that valley Jesus endured that judgment and order that by his death. Door of hope might be open for us in the glory know if that's the case if that's the way God deals with this using even judgment as a vehicle of cleansing then means by which that door of hope is open then you and I must turn from sin and serve him wholeheartedly and turning from sin, to serve him wholeheartedly. We must speak to others of that hope which is found in Jesus Christ. We must say to them, not well I better than you are. That's why God has blessed me to say rather all of facts sin that we find in these characters of the Old Testament. All of that dissatisfaction, all of that coveting all of that out right disobedience, theft, and lying is that us. That's what we are like.

It's how we've been God's taken her judgment upon himself because he's done that he is just opened up Gloria's new game for Austin set before us a door of hope, which is not only for this life and hope for all eternity.

That's the God I make known to you, God will make your Valley door of hope as well were faithful and that God will use us and will speak even from the position of our own cleansing from sin, to bring others to the knowledge of that same glorious Savior spray father when we read of judgment we find our hearts cast down because we recognize that the judgment is judgment which we ourselves deserve and we read your handling of judgment we find. Our hope quickens, because we recognize that you by grace are able to open a great door of hope to any who will turn to Jesus Christ our father because of the glory of the great gospel. We ask that you might keep us faithful, keep us from sin. Give us satisfaction in yourself rather than dissatisfaction and not covetousness but a generous spirit willing to give to others out of what we have first received a bubble getting others that message of grace in Jesus Christ, by which we have been saved or we pray in the name of our beloved Savior and Lord. Even Jesus you are listening to Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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