The Unless series continues…. I haven’t forgot about it. We have many more “unless” Scripture passages to dig into!
Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst.
Did you let that verse sink in as you read it?
Read it again.
God point blank tells Israel, I will not be with you anymore unless…
…unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst.
So what does it mean for something to be under the ban? In the Hebrew text the phrase under the ban is actually cherem which is cursed and it’s definition is accursed dedicated thing, appointed to utter destruction, extermination. When you look at the context of this verse by reading the rest of the chapter and the chapters before it, we see that God told Joshua that everything in the city belonged to Him, everything in it was appointed to utter destruction, except Rahab and her family. She and her family were to be the only people or possessions to exit the city.
When Israel left Egypt, God allowed them to take with them whatever treasures, livestock, or people who wanted to exit with them… but facing Jericho was different… God knew why and Israel as simply to obey.
However, one man did not obey. One man saw the gold and silver and treasures of Jericho… and he could not turn away from it. He snuck it out the city and he buried it under his tent. Joshua might not have seen it… but God certainly did.
I am sure this man thought… there is nothing evil about these treasures, surely God didn’t mean these things, look at how they will benefit my family, nobody will ever know, I will keep them buried here until enough time has passed…
The Lord did see. God did care. God let the whole nation know that He knew…
Israel was about to face a people much smaller than Jericho. They spied it out and thought, Oh we got this. Joshua just send a few of us, this is gonna be a cinch!
However, they ran away with their tails between their legs, beaten by this small people.
Joshua was baffled, so he sought the Lord.
Someone had taken what they were not to take. Someone had stole from God. Someone had brought a curse into the camp by their own disobedience and rebellion to the Word of God. The choice of one affected the whole nation. We never sin to ourselves… even if we think nobody saw, even if we think it’s not really that big of a deal.
How does this relate to us today… as an individual before our God?
First who is our enemy? I believe the Word of God teaches us that we have three- the world, Satan, and our flesh.
So let me ask you, are you having a hard time standing before the world, or standing before Satan, or standing before the desires of your own flesh? Do you feel as though the Lord has left you?
Know first of all that if you are child of God in Christ… He has promised that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) but He has also said that if you claim to have fellowship with Him but walk in darkness, you lie (1 John 1:6).
Sometimes God is silent and He steps back and allows us to experience the consequences of our choices to wake us up, to call us to the carpet, so that we might be able to come to realize that we have taken accursed things willingly into our midst.
What is in your midst? What things of the world, of even Satan himself, what of the desires of your flesh are in your midst and you know that these are things that God has said should not be there. What are you hiding under your tent, convincing yourself no one knows. What actions and choices do you find yourself constantly justifying…
God loves us too much too allow us to hold on to accursed things… He sent His Son to become the accursed so that we could be free. How could He say He loved us if He allowed us to still cling to things that are appointed to utter destruction, to extermination. How could allow us to disrespect and dishonor the sacrifice of His Son by allowing us to hold on to the things that He died to remove us from…
Think about it.
“…: the Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For many days Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law. But in their distress they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him.
2 Chronicles 15:2-4