"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV)
What Is Idolatry? Part 3
“But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.” (Isaiah 66:2b NKJV)
Beloved, we must guard our spirits from idolatry. Idolatry was what brought Israel to destruction. Ten Tribes of Israel refused to stop worshipping and mixing with other gods and thus were taken into captivity first. As we look at the remaining two tribes, and the descendants of David, we see these kings removing the idols from the low places, but many left the idols in the high places.
Leaving these idols in high places was what caused the final one-two punch that brought the whole nation of Israel into captivity as Babylon took over the remaining two tribes (Judah and Benjamin). It was idolatry that caused Israel to fall.
In Joshua Chapter seven we see how devastating idolatry can be to a whole nation. In this particular case the whole nation of Israel suffered because of one man.
“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 Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.” (Joshua 7:1 NKJV)
One man’s idolatry caused the Lord’s anger to burn against the whole nation. As you continue to read Joshua chapter seven you can see that they lost a humiliating battle against the Amorites. This particular battle was supposed to be an easy one. Joshua could not believe it; he tore his cloths and asked the Lord some hard questions. In Joshua 7:10-13
“10 So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 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. 12 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. 13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.” (NKJV)
Joshua got up and immediately got to work trying to find this idol that caused such devastating defeat. He went tribe-by-tribe and family-by-family until he found the man that caused such humiliation. Joshua 7:19-26 tells us:
“19 Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 21 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 and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it. 23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. 24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. 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.
26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.” (NKJV)
When we go after idols we are affecting our own families, our communities and even our nation. Here we were able to see the devastating effect of the idolatry of one man. When our spirits are consumed with idolatry, we can’t have victory over the giants in our lives (Joshua 7:12) and we can’t experience God’s manifested presence (Joshua 7:12)