5. SOME GIFTS FROM GOD ARE ONLY RECEIVED AFTER ONE OBEYS.
"And the LORD said to Joshua, 'See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before himself."Notice carefully that God had "given" Jericho into their hand before they had done anything. Jericho was a gift from God, so to speak, yet they still had something they were required to do to lay hold of the gift! Today some get confused when considering what the Bible teaches about faith, obedience, and salvation. It is true that salvation is a gift (cf. Rom. 6:23) and the gift is available to all (cf. John 3:16). Salvation is by God's grace through man's faith (cf. Eph. 2:8,9)--an obedient faith, that is (cf. James 2:14ff). An obedient faith does not earn one his salvation any more than marching around Jericho earned the Israelites Jericho. In both cases there is a gift that must be claimed on God's terms. An obedient faith gives us access to God's saving grace as it gave them access to Jericho (cf. Rom. 5:1,2).
6. FAITH IS INDEED THE VICTORY.
After marching around the walls 13 times over 7 days, Joshua 6:20 records - "So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."
How exciting this would have been to take part in! It took great faith to march as they did, and they were not disappointed for obeying the LORD. Friends, we too shall not be disappointed when we obey and serve Almighty God! It has always been true that "The just shall live by faith" (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17).
7. ONE SIN CAN HAVE SERIOUS REPERCUSSIONS.
"But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Serah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel...And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water...'Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.'"This account illustrates just how serious one sin can be. Everything from Jericho belonged to God, yet Achan had disobeyed and taken some items for himself. His sin affected other people; 36 men died because of his sin! Even though he was only one man out of a nation of a couple million people, God was aware of what He had done and it would not be tolerated. It had to be dealt with! It is still true that one moment of weakness can have disastrous results (e.g., II Sam. 11ff). Always be on guard (cf. I Pet. 5:8)!
8. YOUR SINS WILL FIND YOU OUT.
Joshua 7:25 - "And Joshua said, 'Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.' So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones."
Even if a man is able to hide his sin from all other mortals, God knows, and eventually his wickedness will be brought to light (cf. Num. 32:23; Eccl. 12:13,14; II Cor. 5:10).