Confidence: His Correction

June 2, 2024

Series: Confidence

Book: Joshua

This is a part of a sermon series on the book of Joshua. You can watch more here.


Sermon Manuscript

Do you know how we have those moments where we think, “If God would just do this in my life I would follow Him forever!” If God would just heal this person, remove this desire, answer this prayer, give me His favor; then I would believe, then I would trust Him, then I would follow Him all the days of my life?” It’s okay – safe space. We think those things, right?

Well, the nation of Israel has seen God answer those prayers. The nation of Israel saw the waters parted at the Jordan River. They saw the walls of Jericho fall down from taking a walk. They have seen God show up in powerful ways, but in our passage this morning we will still see how easy it is to turn from the Lord do what is right in our own eyes. Let’s look Joshua 7:1:

Joshua 7:1, “1 But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel.”

Do you remember Joshua 6 from last Sunday? Israel walked around the walls. Israel blew the Shofar! The Canaanites had to think they were crazy but then, “Bam!” The walls of Jericho fell, Israel rushes into Jericho for victory and the Lord tells Israel not to take any silver, gold or bronze. Remember? Look at Joshua 6:18-19:

Joshua 6:18-19, “18 But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it. 19 But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.”

It’s not about the value of the gold, silver, or bronze. It’s about trusting in the Lord. It’s about following the Lord. Yes, there was victory for Israel but the victory belongs to the Lord, the city belongs to the Lord, the land belongs to the Lord, so that over and over He calls Israel to trust Him and follow Him. It’s not a new idea. It’s all through God’s Word. It starts with Adam and Eve in the garden, “All this is yours to enjoy, just don’t eat from the tree of knowledge and evil.” Joshua 7, verse 1, “What happens?” They eat. They took the silver, gold and bronze for themselves. Look at verses 2-3:

Joshua 7:2-3, “2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.”

Joshua has sent out men to spy out the land before but verse 1 begins with the people turning from the Lord but the people of verse 2 don’t know. In verse 2 their eyes are focused on the next city. It’s a small city. It’s nothing compared to Jericho.

Verse 3, only two to three thousand need to go up to the next city, right? It’s nothing compared to Jericho. It’s like Jerrell. You drive passed Jerrell and you don’t know you drive past Jerrell. Look at verses 4-5:

Joshua 7:4-5, “4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.”

What happened! The men don’t know about the sin of Achan in verse 1. The men of verse 2 think the Spirit of God is still with them, right? The sin of Achan in verse 1 wasn’t a private sin that just disrupted His relationship with the Lord. The sin of Achan disrupted the whole of Israel so that on that day 36 men were lost in battle!

Last Sunday we reminded ourselves that we don’t look for 1-1 application in the Old Testament narrative. We’re not Israel. We’re not fighting Canaanites. It’s okay for us to touch silver, gold and bronze. You know there’s some crazy pastor out there telling people, “You better give me the gold, silver and bronze, so the Lord doesn’t strike you down!”

What’s the principle coming to the surface? What’s the principle that’s true for all times, all places and all people? The God of Scripture doesn’t want to play religious reindeer games. The God of Scripture wants to know His people and He wants His people to know Him.

Is that still true today? He isn’t interested in us looking really spiritual on Sunday mornings? He isn’t interested in us having our hands lifted in worship but hearts that are far from Him? He wants to be among His people and He wants His people to be among Him.

Genesis 3 He walks with Adam and Eve in the cool of the garden. He wants to be with His creation and He wants His creation to be with Him. In the Old Testament He establishes the ark of the covenant, the tabernacle, the temple; these are all physical means by which God wants to be with His people and He wants His people to be with Him.

In the incarnation. John 1, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Literally “tabernacle” among us. He wants to be with His people. It’s why Jesus takes our sin at the cross. It’s why Jesus conquers death. It’s why Jesus clothes us in His righteousness. He wants to be with us and He wants us to be with Him.

This what He wants in our church family in Austin. He is cultivating a people to know Him and be known by Him. A people to walk in His presence, talk about Him, live for Him, serve Him, reflect Him, think about Him and He wants to be with His people.

Isn’t that what all people are looking for in Austin? Did any of us come here this morning because you couldn’t wait for another sermon? Our worship team is doing a great job but are the people in Austin really looking for live worship music before they believe in Jesus and follow Him.

Don’t you think we are looking for a people who walk with God and God walks with them? It’s great to see the wonder of His hands in the hill country but it’s completely different when we meet people who want to know God, walk with Him, live for Him, talk about Him, because we are with Him and He is with us.

It doesn’t mean we are perfect. It doesn’t mean we have it all figured out but in our heart of hearts, we want to be a people who know Jesus, walk with Jesus, grow in Jesus and live for Jesus. Amen?

That’s our first principle in the passage. The second principle in the passage that we are going to see is that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (Galatians 5) Did you see that in verses 1-3? The sin of Achan looked like a private secret. The sin of Achan in verse 1 looks like a little secret “sin appetizer” that nobody else needs to know about but in the body of Christ the God of Scripture isn’t looking for 1-2 people who want to know Him and be known by Him but He is looking for a gathering, a collective of men and women and children who want to know Him and be known by Him. Amen?

We don’t just want 1-2 people who are really excited about Jesus and then the rest of us “ooh and awe” as they live for His glory, right? We want all the spiritual gifts coming to the surface. We want to see all who are in Christ digging deep into God’s Word. We want to see all who are in Christ sharpening one another, encouraging one another, and challenging one another toward the Lord.

We want to see lines of people in the back for prayer. We don’t want 1 person because they had a really, really hard week and it’s got so bad that needed prayer. We want lines of prayer. We want all of us inviting our friends, co-workers and neighbors to know Jesus. We want people serving the community, so that the body of Christ as a whole is shining so bright, like a beacon in our city, that people around us are just curious like, “What’s going on in there?” It’s because God is with His people and His people are with God!

Listen to me, we love new people visiting. We love when people are spiritually curious about God. It’s what we pray for but we don’t want to be so interested in people being curious about Jesus that we become spiritually neutral. Does that make sense?

Stay with me, because if you are new to our church, new to Jesus we are so glad you are here this morning but we don’t want to make our church in north Austin so comfortable that the holiness of God gets lost in the comfort. We want the holiness of God to shine so bright in our church family that, if you have yet to receive Christ in your life, and you draw near to our church family, then we want you to get a little tan from the glow. This is challenging.

We want to be loving, gracious and kind but we don’t want to be so loving, gracious and kind that hardened hearts aren’t melted by His glory, amen? We don’t want to be so loving, gracious, and kind that greed, pride, arrogance, gluttony, abuse and sexual immorality can weave into the core of our non-denominational church in Austin and feel zero friction. Right?

Wouldn’t it be weird if we were an organization against racism and we were so loving that members of the KKK were involved in leadership? That would be weird, right? That’s the principle of our passage this morning, “The God of Scriptures wants to be with His people and He wants His people to be with Him and when we drift from Him, it matters.” Look at verses 6-7:

Joshua 7:6-7, “6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. 7 Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan!”

In verse 6 Joshua doesn’t know about the sin of Achan at this point but he knows he just lost 36 men in battle. He knows the nation of Israel just got wiped out by a lesser enemy and days before the ground was shaking beneath his feet because the walls of Jericho were falling.

Therefore, Joshua falls on his face in worship. Joshua tears his clothes in verse 6. It is a sign of repentance. In verse 7 Joshua cries out to the Lord, “Why?” Joshua turns to the Lord. Look at verses 8-9:

Joshua 7:8-9, “8 O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies? 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?”

In verses 8-9 Joshua is concerned. In Joshua 6 Jericho is on fire and Joshua is confident but in the next chapter the confidence is gone. Isn’t that what happens in our lives as a follower of Jesus?

When the Lord is moving we walk with a pep in our step. Don’t you love those moments? Prayers are being answered. Blessings are flowing. Words come out of our mouth with power and conviction.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the answered prayers take a little longer. The blessings seem a little smaller. The words come out a little more jumbled and verse 7, “Why did you bring us here?” Isn’t that what happens?

If only we would have been willing to stay where we were? They Canaanites will surround us. The enemy is going to win. The great name of the Lord will disappear. Look at verses 10-11:

Joshua 7:10-11, “10 So the Lord said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things.”

Do you see how the destruction of sin creeps into our life and the lives of the people around us? Achan thought this was one little private, secret sin. Who would know? I am your private dancer, dancing for money, doing what you want me to do. Why would it matter?

The temptation of sin always over promises and under delivers. We think it’s going to be so great and instead it brings so much pain. We think sin will be just a little dabble and then it holds us for so much longer. We think sin will just impact ourselves but the destruction of sin is a ripple. Look at verses 12-13:

Joshua 7:12-13, “12 Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst. 13 Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the Lord, the God of Israel, has said, “There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.”

Look at that phrase “Rise up!” When we moved into this building we took a period of time as a church in Austin to rally around “Rise up!” Do you remember? We were coming out of the pandemic. We assumed men and women and children had spiritually wandered in that season. We assumed men and women and children had become spiritually cold, so we challenged our church family to “Rise Up!”

Destroy those old habits. Turn from those old patterns. Remove the things in our heart, soul and mind that are not of the Lord and commit ourselves to the Lord because He is worthy! Look at verses 14-15:

Joshua 7:14-15, “14 In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which the Lord takes shall come near by households, and the household which the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15 It shall be that the one who is taken with the things under the ban shall be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”

In the context of the passage we see a “casting of lots” in verse 14 to draw out the sin of Achan. I need you to see the grace in verse 14. There is a warning in verse 14 that is given to all the people of Israel, including Achan and his family.

Achan exchanged the Giver for the gifts. Achan thought the silver and the gold was the prize. Achan thought Jericho was the prize, so Achan is given time to repent. Achan is given time to reflect. Achan is given time to bring his hardened heart to the Lord but he doesn’t.

Listen to me church family, we’re going to wander from the Lord in thought, word and deed. It isn’t if, it’s when. In those moments the Lord bring conviction through the Holy Spirit. His conviction is described as a “heavy hand” in Psalm 32. Do you know those moments when the Holy Spirit is poking into your soul like, “What’s going on there?” How long you going to hang on to that? How long you going to dabble in that? How long you going to tease that out?

It’s why Psalm 32 says, “How blessed is he whose sin is forgiven.” How sweet it is to turn in repentance. It is the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance. It is the work of God for us to turn from darkness to light and He rejoices when we do.

Please know the God of Scripture isn’t surprised by our foolishness. He doesn’t even grow tired of our foolishness. There’s no part of Him thinking, “You did it again?” No! He knows were sinners, which is why Jesus is so important.

In Christ, we are forgiven of our sin. In Christ, we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit. In Christ, we are empowered to turn from darkness and walk in the light as He is in the light, therefore, let’s not watch a few people get excited about Jesus.

James says, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed.” I don’t know of any patterns of habitual sin in our church family but it’s possible some layers of spiritual darkness have crept into our church family and we don’t want to become comfortable with spiritual darkness.

We want to harness the collective power of God’s presence at work in the life of our church family! Let’s not confess just in secret but let’s confess publically with one another. Let’s go to the people at the back and confess openly. Let’s turn to one another in worship and confess openly our need for Jesus.

We not only want to see this taking place individually in our church family but also collectively. For those who are new, our church family has been going through some transitional pains coming out of the pandemic.

  • Vision (what we do): We follow Jesus.
  • Mission (what you see): Love for our church / city / world.
  • Strategy (how we do it): Sunday morning / Groups / Live, work and play.

About a year ago we updated our church family on our current reality. We invited people to respond by praying, giving, serving and leaning into the vision of our church in Austin. Our vision is to follow Jesus, invested in one another as a family, so that it moves us to chase after those in our city.

We’re not interested in just hosting a worship service. We’re trying to build something special here and we’re still encountering some challenges that we wanted to share with our church family:

  • Our elder team is shrinking. In the last couple of months we have gone from 5 elders to 3 elders which puts some challenges on our ability to spiritually care for our church family.
  • Our ability of managing our Ministry Leaders through our elder team is becoming unrealistic.
  • We don’t see potential “Elders In Training” coming soon. We don’t want to rush this but right now we don’t see them coming to the surface.
  • Ideally, we would have Ministry Leaders multiplying themselves but instead we are losing 3 Ministry Leaders this month.
  • Ideally, our volunteers and participation would be increasing but instead we see them plateauing or declining.
  • We have new people but sometimes new people need time to get involved.
  • We see new visitors but new visitors need time to get involved.
  • Our finances are up and down but generally we are losing about $10K a month.

Personally, the elders aren’t discouraged. We sense the Lord’s presence but we also want a church family that is honoring to the Lord and we are wrestling with what that looks like practically.

  • We are asking our church family to look within and see if there are any dark places that have crept into our soul, knowingly or unknowingly.
  • We are asking our church family to pray about NEXT STEPS for our church family over the summer months.
    • Do we need to remove areas of ministry to make our church family simpler and easier to manage?
    • Do we create a volunteer staff team to help lead our church family under our elders?
    • Do we need to close down gracefully?

We don’t have to exist as a church in north Austin. We hold North Village Church with an open hand but we don’t want to just exist as a church family. We want to be a place that is honoring to the Lord. We want to be a place that is able to care for others well, because look how important it is to the Lord. Let’s look at verses 16-18:

Joshua 7:16-18, “16 So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken.”

In verses 16-18 the tribes of Israel were brought forward, so that Joshua could sift out the people of Israel. Look at verses 19-21:

Joshua 7:19-21, “19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I implore you, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me.” 20 So Achan answered Joshua and said, “Truly, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.”

In verses 19-21 the people of Israel come forward in agreement, so that their spiritual darkness would be exposed, and then in verse 19 Achan is confronted. This is like when Jesus is talking to the woman at the well in John 4 when the woman says, “I have no husband.” Jesus says to her, “That’s right, because you have 5 husbands and the one you are with now isn’t your husband.”

Or Acts 5 when Ananias and Saphira sell land to donate to the church and tell everyone they donated it all to the church, so that the Apostle Peter says, “Has Satan filled your heart? Why are you lying to the Holy Spirit?” Both him and his wife fell over dead in the moment!

I know this is uncomfortable for some of us to imagine what this might look like in the local church in Austin today. I know it is possible for spiritual abuse to take place if something like this is taken too far but we want the God of Scripture to be with His people and we want His people to be with Him.

Our elders probably aren’t going to be able to read hearts and minds but in my experience the grace of God brings spiritual darkness into His light. It might not happen as quickly as Acts 5 and John 4 but in time, it will happen, therefore, the best thing we can do is bring those layers of darkness willingly. Look at verses 22-23:

Joshua 7:22-23, “22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was concealed in his tent with the silver underneath it. 23 They took them from inside the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the sons of Israel, and they poured them out before the Lord.”

In verses 22-23 we see everything comes to the surface and in verses 24-26, our next passage, we are going to see some strong language that might be difficult for us this morning so don’t shut your heart and mind just yet. Look at verses 24-26:

Joshua 7:24-26, “24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. 26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and 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.”

It would be easy to read verses 24-26 and think, “Where’s the grace?” But we need to remember Achan was warned in Joshua 6. Achan was given time to confess in verses 14-15. And Achan didn’t come forward with confession but instead got caught. Does that make sense?

Listen to me, God is gracious. He has been gracious since the days of Adam and Eve. Amen? He is gracious to expose the sin of Achan and not judge all of Israel. God’s judgment isn’t a reason to close our hearts toward but instead see the sin of Achan as a warning, because the God of Scripture is very committed to being with His people and His people being with Him.

Let’s invite the worship team to the stage. Let’s lower the lights. We will have people at the back to pray for us but I want to make sure we are seeing the gospel in our passage this morning.

Any time His creation is giving our affection to something besides Him, it is going to bother Him because nothing in this world is worthy of our affection other than Him. Nothing is able to sustain us, provide for us, care for us, fulfill us; other than Him.

This is why Jesus is so important. He is just and the justifier. He will hold sin accountable. He will not wink at it and then He comes to take our sin upon Himself at the cross. He who knew not sin becomes sin so that we might know the righteousness of God. Isn’t that glorious?

If you have yet to trust in Jesus, won’t you do that this morning? If not, it means you will take that judgment upon yourself. You don’t to. It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.

Achan was told judgment was coming. Achan was warned. And in the same way, Jesus makes it clear that judgment is coming. It may not come tomorrow but it will come, therefore, trust in Him.

I don’t know what you are carrying but you need to know there is joy in Jesus. There’s more joy in Jesus than in darkness. I promise. The longer you hide. The longer you resist, the harder it is to turn and trust in Jesus. Won’t you do that this morning? The weight of the Lord’s hand is upon us and He wants us to turn from death to life in Him so that we see the weight removed, the lights turned on, the hope filled up, the joy of His grace. Won’t you? Don’t you want to see that in our church family?


North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.


You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.


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