I love all things chocolate. Chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, Oreos… M’mmm. You name it. If it's chocolate, I’ll probably eat it. My sweet tooth is notorious. I know it’s not good for me but it’s so hard to resist at times. Twice in my life I have gone 40 days without sweets, and the results were evident. I did not have one single acne break-out when I stayed away from my desserts. But just as soon as I reverted back to sweets, it showed on my face. I guess that’s why they say all that glitters isn’t gold. But temptation runs way deeper than just being tempted by a decadent dessert. Temptation comes in many forms.
Many people are tempted by the allurement of gold, silver, money, and wealth. Ask Achan of the tribe of Judah how money has such an enticing appeal. When the children of Israel took over Jericho, he helped himself to some Babylonian garments, 200 shekels of silver, and about 50 shekels of gold. Jericho had fallen and the city was utterly destroyed with no inhabitants. So, there was no harm in taking a little treasure for himself, right?
Well the next battle the children of Israel faced was in the land of Ai. Joshua, the leader of the children of Israel at the time, appointed a few spies to go view the land for a plan of attack. The spies returned and reported the following to Joshua:
“Oh, this is easy work, Josh. We don’t need the whole tribe for this battle. Just send about 2,000 or 3,000 men and we can take care of this. It'll be a breeze.”
Of course, I am paraphrasing but Joshua did as they suggested. Yet, it wasn’t a breeze as the spies stated. In fact, the children of Israel came running back in terror from the men of Ai. Approximately 36 Israelites were killed in this “easy” battle.
Now, let me paint the picture for you. The children of Israel at this time were known to be conquerors of any city they entered. In fact, Joshua 6:27 states the fame of Joshua was noised all throughout the country. He and the children of Israel was like The NBA Lakers in the early 2000s starring Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. They were virtually unstoppable, whether you liked it or not. So, this defeat from what they viewed as the weak men of Ai was crushing.
Joshua 7:6 states Joshua fell down on his face before God and asked Him why He allowed the defeat. He asked God why He would allow them to cross over Jordan just to be destroyed. He said to God it had been better if He had just let them stay on the other side of Jordan. Joshua said to God that the inhabitants of the land will hear of their shameful defeat. He then asked God how will He recover His great name to save face from the embarrassing defeat.
Here’s God’s face to Joshua’s plea…
Joshua 7:10–12 King James Version (KJV) And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you
Remember Achan that was mentioned earlier? The one who helped himself to a little silver and gold when the children of Israel defeated Jericho? Well, he was the one who took the accursed thing. Now, Achan may have been excused if he didn’t know the items he took were accursed… but he knew better. Joshua gave clear instructions to everyone.
Joshua 6:18–19 King James Version (KJV) And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.
So why would Achan make such an unwise decision to curse himself and the entire tribe? Why would he blatantly disobey God’s orders? Well for one, as mentioned in the introduction, some things are just down right tempting … even when you know there may be bad consequences. You may argue that indulging in sweets cannot compare to what Achan did. I can agree to that.
But I wouldn't be so quick to judge Achan. I have had Achan moments in my life and so have you. Whenever we sin, we are doing exactly what Achan did. We are accursing ourselves. We are preventing blessings from being poured into our lives. We are keeping God at bay because we chose to harbor what we deem as gold instead of harboring God’s commands which is the real gold. So what accursed gold are you cleaving to? Sin consists of many things. A few are listed here:
Galatians 5:19–21 King James Version (KJV) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Many of these sins we value as gold. Yet, it is accursed gold that will not profit us. Romans 6:23 states that the wages of sin is death. Death people. DEATH. Is your gold worth that? I know it’s hard to let go of sin. I have been there. We have ALL been there. Romans 3:23 states that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Temptation is hard because it is tempting.
It’s hard to let that accursed gold go, even when you know that it is accursed. We ignore the sin of fornication because sex feels good. It’s tempting. It yields satisfaction… but is it worth death? The same is true of any sin we partake in. It yields some sort of satisfaction, which is why we indulge in it. Yet, it is never worth death. When Achan faced death because of his accursed gold, I am sure he wished he had made a better decision. I am sure he would have attested to the fact that gold, accursed or not, is not worth dying for.
All that glitters isn't gold and everything that looks good to you isn’t good for you. Let your accursed gold go! Once the accursed gold was removed from amongst the Israelites, they were able to go forth and conquer the land of Ai. Once you remove the accursed gold from your life, you will be able to go forth and be blessed. Stop keeping God at bay. Stop blocking your blessings by holding on to your curse. Let your accursed gold go!
If you were to appraise your accursed gold, you will find it’s not worth as much as you thought. On the contrary, if you were to appraise God, you will find He’s worth more than gold — accursed or not. Nothing compares to Him. As the old hymn goes, “ I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold”.
Amen. Be blessed folks, and have a great day!