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The Valley of Trouble

The story of Achan is found in Joshua 7.  Achan, a member of the tribe of Judah, according to the narrative of Joshua chapter 7, pillaged an ingot of gold, a quantity of silver, and a “beautiful Babylonian garment” from Jericho, in contravention of Joshua’s directive that “all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord”   Since he had taken what God had told them to leave alone, the Lord’s anger burned against the whole of Israel.  The whole matter was intensified when Joshua sent some of his men to Jericho to spy out the town of Ai.  The men returned and told Joshua that the town had few men and they only needed to take a small force to defeat them.  To their surprise, the men of Ai defeated them and killed thirty-six of their men and all this brought fear on the Israelites.    Verse 5b – The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events, and their courage melted away.  

The mighty Israelites who were used to defeating armies much bigger than theirs were now afraid of the men of Ai, a small force at best.  What happened?  When God saw what Achan had done he was unhappy with the Israelites and His blessing did not go with them and their might was compromised.  All because of Achan’s sin.  Here is what the Lord told Joshua and his elders to do.  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.  When the tribe of Judah came before the Lord, the clan of Zimri was singled out and then Achan was singled out.  They had their man and Achan admits his sin.  Here is where justice rules the day as listed in the following scripture verses. 24 Then Joshua and all the Israelites took Achan, the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, tent, and everything he had, and they brought them to the valley of Achor. 25 Then Joshua said to Achan, “Why have you brought trouble on us? The Lord will now bring trouble on you.” And all the Israelites stoned Achan and his family and burned their bodies. 26 They piled a great heap of stones over Achan, which remains to this day. That is why the place has been called the Valley of Trouble ever since. So the Lord was no longer angry.  

Have you ever heard the saying “We are in a world of hurt”?  Basically, that means that things couldn’t get much worse.  Well, the Israelites were in a world of hurt and it was because of Achan and his sticky fingers.  So they got rid of their hurt and got right with God again.  What had become a point of fear for God’s people changed immediately when they were made right again with God and this was the result in Joshua 8: Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take all your fighting men and attack Ai, for I have given you the king of Ai, his people, his town, and his land. 2 You will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho and its king. But this time you may keep the plunder and the livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the town.” 

Note to self.  Things go so much better when we obey God’s Word and let God fight our battles for us.  God can take the Valley of Trouble we are in and change that immediately to a Valley of Victory if we will just follow His instructions in life.  Achan was living (and dying) as an illustration of Proverbs 16:25 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. As you travel in your life “stay the path” that God has set out before you and go on that path without fear.   Don’ t ruin things that God has called good by compromising.   You can live a life of faith and see God fight the battles that are before you.  You may say “Achan took some of the plunder God had reserved for Himself.  How can that truth be applied today with grace as our “get out of jail” card?”  Our lives are living examples of God’s forgiveness and grace, and the moment we try to reason out of the natural man is the moment God cannot use us in the Spirit.  Our thinking has to be directed to living a life that is guided by the Holy Spirit and Him alone.  Just come back to God and allow Him full control of your life and then you will experience and walk through the Valley of Victory and the Valley of Trouble will be a distant memory.

The Pilgrimage continues….

David Warren

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