“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.” -Joshua 7:13
Years ago, I was talking with someone who said this, “Linda, I know I’m going to Hell. What is the point of me serving God when I want to do what I want to do? If I serve God, then I can’t do what I want.” I sat there in complete silence. “I know I’m going to Hell…If I serve God, then I can’t do what I want.” What could I have said? We had already talked about heaven and hell. We had already talked about what the Bible had to say about life of sin the person was in. Yet there was that statement, “If I serve God, then I can’t do what I want.” I left the person’s house that day shaking my head. There was nothing more I could say. The person chose misery over living for God. The person chose death and destruction over eternal life. That person to this day, years later, is still locked in a life of sin, believing their sin is okay in the eyes of God.
Sin of any kind is detestable in the eyes of God. Like the Israelites, until sin is removed from our life, we will be defeated. We cannot be steeped in sin and expect God to work on our behalf to give us victory.
The Lord had given a command to Joshua just before they went in to conquer Jericho, “Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel. Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the Lord and must be brought into his treasury,” (Joshua 6:18-19). Achan, however, decided to disobey the command the LORD gave through Joshua. In chapter 7, the Israelites went to conquer the city of Ai and got defeated because sin was found in the camp. Achan had the things devoted for destruction including things that were to be brought into the Lord’s treasury. He hid them under his tent. His sin didn’t just affect him. The results of his sin cost the Israelites victory in conquering the city of Ai. Joshua and the elders fell on their face before God because they were defeated at the battle of Ai. That is when God said this, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 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. 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,” (Joshua 7:10-12).
What is in your camp (life, heart) that needs to be removed? When we speak about consecration to God, we are speaking about being set aside for His service. We are speaking about being made holy. We are talking about being sanctified. It is essential for us to understand God is absolute perfection. He is holy, and He says, “Be holy for I am holy.” He doesn’t command us to do the impossible. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. However, in Christ, we are given all we need to live holy lives for the Lord.
The Lord gave a specific command in Joshua 7:13, “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.” The Israelites needed to purge their encampment of sin. They needed to go before God and purify themselves. They needed to set themselves apart for service for God. Achan’s sin affected him, the nation, and his clan. Once the sin was confessed, the sin was purged from the camp. Achan and his family paid the consequences of Achan’s sin: death. His sin brought death and destruction to his family. After Achan and his family were put to death, Joshua and the Israelites went to battle the city of Ai again and were victorious. They conquered Ai.
We would do well to learn from Achan and not hide sin that may be in our life.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness,” (1 John 1:9). When we confess our sins before God, we can trust and know He will forgive us. We can know and trust that He is Yahweh M’Kaddesh, the Lord Who Sanctifies. Though God’s mercies are new every morning and His compassion never fails, we are never, never, never to take advantage of God’s mercy and grace.
When King David had repented before God, he stated this, “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me,” (Psalm 51:7-11). God doesn’t reject a broken spirit or a contrite heart that comes before Him in genuine repentance and humility. When we consecrate ourselves before God, we are coming out from amongst them. We are separating ourselves apart for His service. Before God, we must make a decision.
Will we consecrate ourselves before Him? Will we rend our hearts before Him? Will we live for Him in wholehearted devotion and in service to Him? Will we allow ourselves to be used by Him in whatever capacity He chooses? Choose you this day whom you will serve.
We are a Royal Priesthood. First Peter 2:9 states, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” Since we are a royal priesthood, we must go before God and consecrate ourselves before Him. When we consecrate ourselves before God, we empty ourselves before Him; in other words, we pour ourselves out before Him.
I cannot stress this enough: holiness and worldliness do NOT mix. You cannot be a friend of God and a friend of the world. The foundation of our lives must be built on Christ. He is the Solid Rock, and there is no other. We cannot escape from Him. He is the Fountain of Living Water. He is the Manna (Bread) of Heaven. And He is more than enough. We cannot speak about being consecrated to God without discussing holiness. When we consecrate ourselves to God, we are literally giving ourselves over to His service. We are pouring ourselves out before God just as the woman with the alabaster jar did when she broke the bottle of nard over Jesus. We consecrate ourselves to God in complete abandonment.
Linda A. Knowles