PP: “your responses have been such a blessing, and I have learned so much from your insights! Please feel free to submit a QT that spoke to you, and I’ll post it here. Our first submission comes from one of the SALT staff, Jennifer Kim”:
12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.
13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.
All For One
Although Achan is the one who sins against God, all of Israel is addressed and is punished for his actions. They are defeated by the city of Ai because of Achan’s decision to keep a small portion of the things devoted to God. At first glance, it almost seems as if God is overreacting. Only one man had sinned.
But we have to remember, that our actions can deeply affect others, whether positively or negatively. We are a single body of believers, so if one part of the body does wrong, the entire body has sinned. This is sometimes hard to grasp since our society has a very individualistic mindset. Despite this, we have to remember that we are a family under God and that we all have a responsibility to keep each other accountable. We can’t have the attitude of “it’s all about me” because it is actually “all about God.” God wants us to have a spirit of unity “so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:6)
Another thing we to take away from this is the fact that God tells the Israelites to “consecrate” themselves. Consecrate literally means to set apart. In order to accomplish this, the Israelites have to remove the sin within their community. As long as the sin is present, they cannot defeat their enemies because God cannot fully be a part of their lives, just as God cannot fully be a part of our lives as long as we hold onto something or even someone that causes us to sin. Our relationship with God is not a compromise. We are not called to devote a portion or even the majority of our lives to Him. But we are called to die to ourselves and live completely for God. There is no room for any gray area, because it’s all or nothing.
1. Sin is often not a one time thing. Some sins come in the form of habits or are results of constant temptation. Do you find yourself struggling with the same issues or temptations over and over? How can you break that cycle?
2. We are all part of a greater community, but it’s easy to take a passive role and let others do the grunt work. How can you become a more active member of the body Christ and promote a more unified body?
3. Accountability is key. It can come from someone you look up to but it can also come from your friends. Do you have people to keep you accountable and in what way? Are you keeping others accountable even when it’s difficult to correct them?
4. All of us make compromises with God. In what ways do you find yourself making “deals?”