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Monday: An Accursed Thing in the Camp — 11 Comments

  1. There are a couple of politicians who used to be ministers in the NSW state government who are now languishing in jail. To cut a long story short, one of them was the minister for mining and decided to give himself and his mates the mining rights to mine coal in a particular area. They think that their big mistake was that they got found out, but the judicial system decided that it was corruption and threw them in jail. They fought the sentence and appealed, but ultimately the higher courts agreed and left them incarcerated.

    Their plan was selfish and deceptive. They used ghost companies with non-entity directors, and so on, to cover their tracks. Somewhere along the line, someone smelled a rat and the whole scheme unwound.

    Achan's scheme was a family-scale corruption plan. He put personal profit above national interests at a critical time in the history of the Children of Israel.

    I would like to say that the Seventh-day Adventist Church personnel are above bribery and corruption. This is not the place to enumerate such practices, but it does happen to the detriment of our church. That is why it is important to declare conflicts of interest, to ensure that everything is above board.

    It can even happen in a small congregation. This is not a church story, but I tell it to illustrate that self-interest is not just a big organisation issue. Our local U3A group had the opportunity to build a small office space in a community building. Two quotes were submitted by the committee member who was given the task. We were told the names of the organisations who were to build the office. In the course of dealing with these quotes, we found out that one of the quotes was from the husband of the committee member. Now there is nothing wrong with that, but concealing that bit of information from the committee hid a potential conflict of interest from us.

    It is all about integrity.

  2. Probably Achan was perfectly happy with the clothing he possessed, until ... As he tells the story, "When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them ..." (Joshua 7:21)

    I wonder if we would not be a whole lot happier if we stopped looking at commercials of things we do not possess, if we stopped "window shopping," and if we just stopped watching a lot of TV (including Youtube and "good" movies) or looking at magazines.

    If we spent more time in God's Word and God's creation, we wouldn't even see things to covet! And time spent with God brings its own inherent blessings and satisfaction.

    I pray that I will always remember this ..

    • Inge, the song that came to mind in response to your comments was; Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look FULL in his wonderful face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of his glory and grace.

    • For some people, it's probably a good idea to not "window shop" or whatever, but at its root, coveting is a heart issue. Take away one thing to covet, and there will always be something else. As Maurice has said, we can covet positions and attention even for doing good things (such as knowing God's word).

      Achan wasn't the only one who saw a beautiful robe - there would have been many among the plunder. But many others saw and didn't take. Seeing led to the final result, but it wasn't the root of the sin. We can only surmise, but I suspect Achan had a dissatisfied attitude all along. It probably wasn't a sin of the moment, otherwise I suspect he would have come clean much earlier. He was likely building a life in this direction for some time. Which, of course, we can do too, and that is why we always need a renewed heart.

      • Good point, Christina, that covetousness originates *before* we observe what we covet. I think it intrinsic to the unconverted human heart. The only way to be safe from covetousness is to truly "seek first the Kingdom of God." He must be first in our lives, so that He is the first one we communicate with each day. And when His Kingdom is first, we will daily seek for ways to make that Kingdom attractive to those around us.

        That said, the less we expose ourselves to the attractions of this world, the more attractive will God's Kingdom be to us.

  3. If someone, be it an individual or a church leader, intentionally leaves out important information in order to get what they want, it can seriously hurt the trust and respect they have built with others. It's important to always be honest and upfront in all situations, even if the outcome isn't exactly what you were hoping for.

  4. We all justify errors based on some premise. And these errors are exactly the things that withdraw the blessings of God.

    I can never hide anything, neither from myself or from God. When I forget this reality, I fall. That's why it is important to renew my vows everyday, because the "distractions" of life can make me blind to this important truth.

  5. I wonder what Achan and his family were planning to do with the pirated booty? They had to bury it under their tent to conceal the stash (and their sin). Was the plan to unload it on the black market sometime in the future?…which would have brought the family into company with more nefarious individuals…
    God’s protective solution against the dark world is simple: keep yourselves from the accursed thing (Joshua 6:18).
    And for many of us, like Inge already suggested, that means avoiding the circumstances that will stroke a covetous heart and replace them with those that are good, right, pure, etc. (Philippians 4:8).
    Also, spending our time meeting the basic needs of others who have nothing materially will help us consider how much God has given to us.

  6. Achan; Ananias and Saphira; suffered for their coveting and their secretiveness and their lying with losing their eternal connection with God. We will suffer the same if we go on and do the same as they did and God will make sure that we will not escape as they also did not escape.

  7. I consider establishing integrity is paramount in a Christian's life. How to establish it is the responsibility of each person professing to be a believer and follower of the faith of Christ - Christianity - and its teachings.

    To me, a life lived with integrity and compassion becomes a ‘shining light on a hill - reflecting our God's integrity’ ”that others may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt.5:16

    I do not want to sit in judgement of the motives of Achan. He considered his reasonings and found them justifying the keeping of the items; that he hid them, though is a sign that he knew that it was not right. One could ask: did God not allow in other instances for the warriors to keep the spoils obtained through victories in war? Achan might have seen his actions in this light.

    I agree with the lesson writer as he points out that this victory over Jericho, achieved solely through following faithfully God’s divine strategy, was to demonstrate to the surrounding nations that Israel’s army was not fighting wars to enrich themsleves by keeping their spoils, but to establish the Name of the LORD; this first victory was to set its precedence.

    It is not easy to resist the temptation to take advantage of an opportunity presenting itself when ‘no one looks’ or when others are 'none the wiser'. To be known as one who shows to have integrity in all engagements in life far outweighs any temporary advantage through ill-gotten gains. I consider ‘integrity’ and ‘compassion’ to be two indispensable pillars of our faith – Prov.22:1.


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