As I opened my Bible App on my phone yesterday, for the first time I noticed the Bible-verse-a-day at the startup, which was only recently so after some updates. I had been so used to going directly to read the passages that this new update annoyed me a bit and I always quickly press the screen to return to the Read page. Anyway, I realized for a few days the verses have been familiar Bible verses from the Old Testament. The first verse shown was Ps 119:11 – Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. The 2nd verse for the previous date was Eccl 12:13 – “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.”
Let me continue with verse 14, since it is so apt for today’s reading:
“For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.”
We at TJC love to refer to these two verses, because we know that all of God’s instructions are written in the Bible for us, yet many Christians do not know many contents of what is written and hence continue to sin against God.
There are so many good verses that allow us to know our God better found throughout the Bible, and the Old Testament has 39 precious books written about God, but why do many Christians choose to ignore the O.T. that makes up more than half the Bible, and only refer to the N.T.? Why do they only want to read about the positive things such as God is gracious and loving and merciful, but do not want to acknowledge that the God who executed wars and judgments is in fact the same God that never changed and will never change? Some theologians even believe that God had changed over time in history and therefore the God in the Old Testament is different from that in the New Testament. There is a terrible and erroneous belief that will make people lose identifying what God loves and what God hates, and hence fall into the trap of the Devil to sin against God.
Today’s passage is about the sin of Achan that led to the Israelites to be defeated at Ai. The sin of one man had cursed the entire congregation, and God would not even want to be with Joshua and the people anymore (verse 12) because of this one man and his sin. God commanded that the culprit be burned with fire, including his whole family and all his belongings. After Achan’s sin was exposed, he and all his family, his children and animals, were all brought to the Valley of Achor, stoned to death then burned with fire.
This horrific punishment has led some what is called liberal scholars and archaeologists (as described in Wikipedia) to believe this story is just a myth to explain the origin of the Valley’s name (Achor).
Such punishment carried by human beings on human beings are unthinkable in many modern societies today, and that’s why we cannot tolerate such behavior when we hear news of Muslim women are being stoned to death in some countries of the Middle east which is allowed by their law.
The practice of stoning or even executing physical punishment is indeed no longer applicable to us Christians, as we leave all punishment to God’s timing and the 2nd coming of Christ. However, do we imagine the punishment from God in the end to be more bearable than these? Are we still able to believe in the plagues that are recorded in Revelation and that God has destined for these to come upon the earth? Do we fear the eternal fire in condemnation if we fail to meet the mark of Jesus to be saved?
Let us take it to heart the important teachings that this actual historical event of Achan:
- Nothing can be hidden from God
- God does not dwell with man who has committed a disgraceful act by sinning against the command of God
- The sin of one man can affect the entire congregation
- We cannot stand against our enemies when we are not purged of sin.
- A moment of weakness for the love of the world and giving in to our lust could end us up in a disastrous end.
And finally, the punishment for sin is severe. Let us not think that a delay in God’s judgment means that He will not remember and bring our actions into judgment in the Last Day.
As a concluding verse,
“For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.” Eccl 12:14