Joshua 7:1 tells us that “the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.” (NIV)
Achan’s name means “troubler,” and his sin literally stopped the children of Israel from conquering the city of Ai. God had spoken to Joshua that all of the gold and silver and valuable possessions of the city of Jericho should be brought into the treasury of Israel for the building of the Temple. We read about this in Joshua 6:18-19 (NIV): “‘But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.’”
Also, in Joshua 6:24 (NIV): “Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house.” The Lord called the gold and silver and valuable possessions “devoted things.” This speaks of two types of devotion. First of all, these valuable things were used by pagan, ungodly people in various fleshly and demonic, sinful practices. But more importantly, these valuable items were wanted by God. He wanted the first fruits of Canaan dedicated to Him. For the sake of building the Temple, these valued possessions had been “devoted” to God’s purposes by God Himself.
In a congregation of several million people, there were a lot of people “sinning.” They faced the same temptations and battles that we face. However, this one sin by Achan stopped an entire nation and brought about the anger of God. This sin deals with the love of money. Achan coveted after those valuable possessions, and the spirit of greed filled his heart.
We see this exact sin duplicated in the Early Church. “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’
“Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
“Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, ‘Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?’ She said, ‘Yes, for so much.’ Then Peter said to her, ‘How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.’
“Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.” (Acts 5:1-11)
This is the first recorded sin in the Early Church, and it was Satan’s first great attack against the Church (“How is it that Satan has filled your heart?”) Both in this example and in the example of Achan’s sin, we see that our response to money is crucial to God. In both of these instances, the two men lied and deceived because of greed.
The Joshua Generation must respond rightly to God in giving and attitudes about finances. We read in 1 Timothy 6:9, 10 (NIV): “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” The sin of the love of money is one of Satan’s greatest weapons and temptations for all of man.
You may think that God doesn’t notice the way you give and the way you handle finances, but He does! In fact, the way you respond to God financially reveals what is truly in your heart. The Early Church was so completely dedicated to God’s will and the furtherance of His Kingdom that they abandoned all personal rights to possessions and finances. They literally laid their money and possessions at the Apostles’ feet.
The spirit of sacrificial giving is one of the keys for revival found in the book of Acts. “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” (Acts 2:44, 45) “Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” (Acts 4:34, 35)
For many years, ministers have sheepishly and timidly received offerings and spoken of finances in the church. That is going to stop! Ministers must boldly teach God’s Word to God’s people in order to free them from the curse of covetousness and poverty and greed.
If you do not faithfully and consistently tithe and give offerings, then you are a God-robber and have “troubled” your life, family and church! “‘Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, “In what way have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,’ says the Lord of hosts; ‘and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:8-12)
No matter why you say you don’t tithe and give, the real reason is the love of money in your life. Yes, even Spirit-filled believers who say they love God are “cursed with a curse” if they have not tithed and given offerings. It is very simple, dear saint, God will not be mocked. If you have robbed God, then ask him for forgiveness and begin to tithe and give offerings immediately!
Just as the Holy Spirit exposed this sin of the love of money in the Book of Acts, God gave Joshua a “word of knowledge” that it was Achan who troubled Israel with his sin. (You are bringing “spiritual trouble” to your family and church if you don’t tithe and give. Your sin affects more than just you.)
Joshua 7:19-21 tells us: “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.’ And Achan answered Joshua and said, ‘Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 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.’”
In these coming days, God will expose and judge those who have dealt deceitfully with His Church in its finances.
Joshua was praying a defeated and discouraged prayer to God asking why the army had been defeated by the men of the city of Ai. As he was “whining” to God, God interrupted and rebuked him and told him to consecrate the people. We are going to be consecrated and made holy in these last days by strong, anointed preaching and teaching that will confront sin in our lives.
When Achan was caught, he was stoned and burned. “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. 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.” (Joshua 7:25, 26)
By the fire of God’s Holy Spirit, and by the power of His Word, we can destroy the spirit of Achan from our lives. As we surrender our entire lives to God, we will be willing to freely and joyfully give all we possess to God. As we build God’s Kingdom, His Kingdom builds us.
God is not against you having things; He is against things having you! “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:7-10)
God will not be mocked. We cannot continue to come to church and receive from God if we are robbing Him. In many churches, there are more “non-tithers” than tithers! How can God move there? He is limited because they (the “non-tithers”) have troubled their church. God wants to meet your needs and make you a blessing to His people, but He can only respond to the way we give. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
There is no greater joy in life than to give. There is no greater fulfillment in life than to develop a lifestyle of giving. Why? Because God has “freely given” and He expects us to “freely give.” Learn to be a giver and then you will live to give and become a channel of God’s blessings to those around you.