I am doing something a little different the next 3 days...I will be writing a 3 part blog on this subject. I hope Spring Break has been relaxing for you no matter where you are.
Do you ever wonder if you have a terminal wax build up in your ears?
Like maybe if you could get some help for that you would be able to hear your father's voice more clearly?
Do you ever wonder why God speaks so clearly to some people and yet you struggle to hear from him?
I think we can all identify a time in our life that God seemed far away. And if he could just drop us a direct line from the clouds we would be able to grab hold of that and Know we have heard correctly.
I have been reading out of Joshua,the past few weeks. Joshua comes right after the Torah, The law. The first 5 books of the old testament. Joshua was a mighty warrior . God tells Joshua he should be courageous and strong... he is his Father and he will never leave him. And then God raises up that would be warrior and has him lead those people across the Jordan River. God rolled back the waters and the people passed over to take the land that had been promised to their parents. Up to this point they had been living in the desert eating Manna that was provided to them every day. They literally lived hand to mouth. They only knew complete dependence on God for their daily bread.
So they cross the Jordan, and take Jericho with a mighty victory. You can imagine by now they are confident that God is with them. He has been mighty to save on their behalf. But God gave them strict orders after their march on the city. He instructed them not to take any plunder for themselves but only bring back goods for the treasury offered to God.
One man secretly and greedily decided his desires were more important than God's command. And so, Achan brought back some gold, silver and a beautiful robe,and hid it under his tent. (Remember this man had been living in the desert all his life. His clothing was tattered. He had nothing to offer his family and here was his chance....can you identify with the temptation of the lust of the eyes? And the pride of life? The greed to take what doesn't belong to you? Even if God has forbidden it?)
The Israelites believed they could conquer the entire land because God had been giving them the victory. They trusted that he was with them. So they pressed on to the next town. The men went forth to fight and 36 Israelites were slain through an ambush from men from the city of Ai.
I'm sure many wondered if God had left them. Why wasn't he acting on their behalf? What was it that they had done to deserve this? And as their leader Joshua was devestated so he inquired of the Lord. God told Joshua, "there is sin in the camp". So after figuring out who had sinned, Joshua had Achan bring the stolen goods to him. The Israelites took Achan and his whole family outside the camp and stoned them.
One man looking out for his own interest affected the entire Israelite camp. One man who decided he knew better than God, caused 36 innocent men to perish. One person who was driven by his own lust brought rebuke on his people. One made it difficult for the rest to hear from God. One individual brought shame on the name of God.
After Joshua and the other elders of Israel spent the day on their faces (literally)before God he answered them this.
Joshua 7 -NLT
10 But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. 12 That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction.
13 “Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.
God had promised to always be with them. He encouraged them calling their leader a mighty warrior and now he's saying I won't be with you if you let this sin go unpunished. Not that God had been unfaithful to them. They had been unfaithful to him. In fact 1 had been unfaithful.
Could it be that our lack of hearing God is because of sin that isn't taken care of in our camps?
What does that mean? Sin can come in all sorts of packages. And we may have trouble recognizing it because of the narratives we have been raised with or a sin that seems common to man. Perhaps we have tried but we just can't seem to knock it. So we bury it deeper under our tent hoping no one will notice. In fact we may even have trouble calling it sin any longer. ....And.... we continue to struggle with hearing God's voice.... And.... sometimes it affects innocent people like the rest of Achan's family..... And.... others around us.
In Joshua 22:20The Israelites remind the tribes of this...Do you remember When Achan son of Zerah acted unfaithfully regarding the devoted things, did not wrath come upon the whole Community of Israel? He was not the only one who died for his sin.
When we sin it affects more then just ourselves.
Maybe Our lack of hearing is coming from something buried much deeper than we can see. Maybe we need to ask God to show us what he wants to uncover in us. And then we must be willling to rid our tents(bodies) of it.
Is there sin in this tent Father? Is there something you want to uncover? Clean it out. Rid me of my disobedience. I want to hear from you more than I want this stuff. Bring your cleansing fire to burn up sin and prepare this heart to hear from you.
Part 2 will talk of a second reason we may have trouble hearing God...