Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rise UP!

The Sin of Achan

10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings.

Joshua 7:10-11 (ESV)

I was reading through here this morning and considering, first of all, my own life.  Then I was thinking of churches and nations.  First, though, a look in the mirror…


How often do I live like this?  Life is trucking along nicely, moving decently, and I begin to get a little smug, a little self-confident, and just a shade too self-reliant.  Then something bad comes along.  Could be an illness, a work problem, a family issue, a house issue, it doesn't really matter what.  Just something that reminds me that I can't quite handle everything on my own.

What do I do then?  I pitch a fit.  Really, a big fit.  Frequently to other people and then to God.  Other people sympathize, but then I hear God's voice in this verse: RISE UP!!  Quit whining at me for your choice to sin.  Get the sin out, and things will straighten up!

I have a very real need to seek His forgiveness and His strength daily, but I also have to realize that He expects me to recognize the consequences of my own sin.

Then there's the application of this into a group context, which is where it actually starts.  Israel, in the Old Testament, is both a nation and a spiritual assembly.  As such, they are a good example to both our country and our churches.  What can we learn here for these groups?

The message, I think, is that we need to be very careful whining about the mess our country is in if we are not nationally focused on a righteous living.  Do I expect everyone in America to live as strong Christians? No.  Everyone's not a Christian.  Biblically speaking, everyone won't be.  However, there are some basics of morality that I believe we have lost as a nation, and we will see trouble until we fix them.  Life is precious, the weak and the poor need advocates and real opportunities, and you cannot make life about beating everyone else and then expect everything to flow smoothly.  That's the short form…

Then, there's our churches.  For a long time, many churches have been more concerned with entertainment than the Word.  Others have been more concerned with politics than the Word.  Either way, we've been on a different track than our Biblical mandate.  While we have things to say to politics and thoughts on entertainment, we are supposed to be about God's Word.  We're not supposed to entertain and campaign, but to exhort and exalt.  We're not a social group of like-minded (and too often, like-looking) people, but a fellowship of Christ-following people.

We've drifted from these principles, and we want to whine at God for the fact that our churches aren't influential or powerful, that we aren't growing, that we can't meet the budgets to sustain our buildings and programs.  Yet what is God's answer?

I believe that answer is "RISE UP! You want to know why you're in this mess? Take a look around you! Among your group are people that are in sin.  Some of it hidden, some of it open, and you do nothing about it.  Cleanse yourselves and your fellowship. Repent, truly repent. Rend your hearts, turn your actions.  Then you will be unstoppable!"

Let us make 2010 a year that we are willing to confront the sin, first in our own lives (take a look at Romans 2:1-2. Before we confront sin in others, we need to confront it in ourselves. Whatever we call sin in someone else's life, we need to recognize if we carry the same one).  Then, in our churches.  As we do that, we'll begin to see things change for the better. As to our nation, if we'll pray in our homes and churches, if we'll live righteous lives, if we will look after widows and orphans in their distress (James 1::27), if we will live lives focused on glorifying God, we might see things change without needing to stockpile canned goods and ammo.


RISE UP! And follow what you know God wants you to do.



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