Sunday, 16 February 2014

Achan (troubler)


A Christian lady confesses openly in front of a group of ladies that I am with at a house meeting that she and her Christian husband are hiding a large sum of money in their house.  It is money that belongs to a relative who is on benefits but does not want to declare it because some of the benefit will be stopped because of it.  I think to myself, as the person is speaking, 'This situation reminds me of someone in the Old Testament who hides something in his tent', but I can not think of the character's name.  Suddenly, the name of a person from the Old Testament comes on the screen of a television that is showing a Christian video in the room, it is the name 'Achan', but I can not think who he is, and because the lady has been relating what she has been doing with this money, we have not been concentrating on the video.  The person who confesses to hiding the sum of money leaves and my friend and I  start to discuss whether we should have spoken to the person about the fact that in the Lord's eyes it could be wrong, but the lady who organized the group remarks that we should not accuse one another.  I replied that I did not feel like it was accusation because the lady herself had admitted to all in the room what she and her husband were doing.

I wake up in the early hours of the next morning and suddenly realize that the name that came on the screen, 'Achan', is the name of the character in the Old Testament that I was reminded of when the lady was telling us about hiding the money.  I go downstairs and look in the Bible and see that Achan was hiding things devoted for destruction.  I think to myself that with a believer the things 'devoted for destruction' are our old ways and wonder if the Lord is trying to reveal something through this situation.
 
I go to church on the following Sunday and am walking down the steps where two children ask my friend and myself if we have seen their friend, Arian.  They say they are playing a game of hiding.  'What! you are hiding out here in full view of everyone?' I ask.  'No, Arian is hiding from us' the children say.  'There she is' they say, as she appears at the side of the church.  I feel that the conversation is reminding me of something.  My friend says 'Arian is the Welsh word for money', and I see a strange connection with the children's game, the story of Achan, and the Christian lady's open confession to hiding money in order to help someone cheat the benefit system.   Yet again I wonder if the Lord is trying to reveal something, and is it that we can not hide what we do from Him?  Also, if what we do is knowingly wrong to us, is there a penalty paid?  Because Achan had put things devoted to destruction amongst his own things, he too had become a thing devoted for destruction.



We are told in Hebrews ch. 10 vs. 24 - 27  'And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.'  Where then is our responsibility when someone professing to be Christian confesses openly to other Christians to doing something that is wrong, without being accused by anyone?  What is the implication and responsibility of a person experiencing what I experienced over several days?  Should I have spoken up about the way I felt as the series of events were happening, or gone back to the person involved privately later on?  Is it for me, as part of the body of Christ, to share that experience at an appropriate time, and can that experience be counted as prophesy?  Ezekiel ch. 33 v. 8 warns that it is a responsibility to warn one another from wicked ways when it is revealed, or we will have that person's blood on our hands.


Proverbs ch.29 v. 18 says that where there is no prophesy the people cast off restraint.  If we do not share what we believe the Lord is revealing to us in order to build one another up in the faith, then are we guilty of quenching the Holy Spirit's work amongst us, and having that person's blood on our hands, according to that rule of prophesy in Ezekiel ch. 33?  Was it coincidence on the Sunday morning, when the sin of Achan was again brought to my mind through the hiding game of the children, that the pastor was speaking on Ephesians ch. 4 and ch. 6, which speak of the unity of the Spirit and exhortations to righteous livingEphesians ch.4 vs.17-19 says  ' So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.'

Shortly after this incident my husband related to me a story he had heard on the radio of Nazadene, a Muller turned smuggler, who repeatedly took a donkey laden with hay across the border and a border guard who could not detect what Nazradene was smuggling, which turned out to be donkeys.  Sin, just like those donkeys, can become acceptable to us as the norm, thereby becoming unrecognisable to us in our daily lives.  Likewise, sin can become unrecognisable to us, thereby becoming acceptable to us as the norm.

Achan's sin also caused the whole of Israel to be unable to stand against their enemies.  If we do not encourage one another to do what is right, for we can all be tempted to do what is wrong as was implied by Paul when he wrote to the church of the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians ch.3 v.5 saying  'For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labour would be in vain', (and all scripture can be profitable for encouragement and correction. 2 Timothy ch.3 v.16 ), will not the church be allowed to become contaminated by the things of the world?

To be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, Ephesians ch.6 v.11 tells us to put on the whole armour of God.  We are told in Ephesians ch. 4 vs.22-24  ' You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.'  There are two beautiful verses of scripture in Psalm 81 vs.13 and 14 to encourage us in this area, where God is saying 'O that my people would listen to me , that Israel would walk in my ways!  I would soon turn my hand against their foes.'

The Lord is the living word of God by which we are judged, and just like any other judge, that word has the authority to examine and, if necessary, pass sentence. 1 Corinthians ch.11 vs.29-32 states   'For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.  That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.  Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.'  We must allow that word to be an active cleanser in our lives to be able to change us gradually.  We have a loving, longsuffering, forgiving God who understands our weakness in the flesh, but He is also a consuming fire.  He has sent the Holy Spirit as our teacher to lead us into all truth, and should we not do our best to act on that truth?  In 2 Chronicles, ch.2 vs.13 and 14, the Lord is telling Solomon that when there are troubles come upon His people, if His people will humble themselves and pray and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, then He will gear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  There is a repentance in these instructions, a turning from our wicked ways, which is also a requirement for believers insomuch as we are asked to 'repent', and to be 'doers of the word and not just hearers'.

One day my husband connected the battery to his motorbike to try to get it to start, but there was no spark.  Without a spark, the engine would not start and the bike was lifeless.  Without the Holy Spirit actively being allowed to change us through our obedience to its teaching, we as individuals and as a church will be spiritually lifeless because we shall be still carnal, thereby being dead in our sins.

I believe the whole of what I experienced on this occasion was not to point out what was going on in one person's life at all, for we are all prone to temptation, and sometimes we are not even sure what is right or wrong in God's eyes, but I believe it is a message to all of us to be alert to the teachings of the Holy Spirit, and to allow Him to work through all the members of the body in order to change us collectively into the image of God's Son.  God is building His church, and unless the Lord build the house, those who build it labour in vain.  (Psalm 127 v.1)   Colossians ch.2 v.8 tells us to 'beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.'  We must allow God to  build according to the format that He has laid out in the scriptures, and not attempt to alter it.

 
On my bedside cabinet there is a small wooden giraffe.  I accidentally knocked it over one day and its head fell off.  My husband repaired it.  I can not tell you how many repair jobs my husband has done on ornaments around the house, and this is exactly what salvation is
 - a repair job.
 


 

 

 

 
While all of this was happening, it was the time of the fortieth anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, when 116 children were killed while in their school by a man built mountain of coal slurry.  God forbid that His spiritual children should be 'killed' by a man-made mountain of worldly doctrine and church tradition that could be making the word of God void in the church.

I end this post with a short poem of encouragement

The Path
Follow the path of righteousness
the road to the Father's heart
Follow His Son as He leads you on
from His ways do not depart
Follow the path that leads to life
the way that we all must take
Yes, follow the ways of Jesus
the Saviour who died for our sake






  

31 comments:

Never Forsaken said...

Brenda, You have such a gift of writing...Have you considered possibly copying this post and somehow sending it to the woman?

What you have written here is very clear and scripturally centered on truth...It would be hard for a believer to deny what they did was a possible transgression...and if they did, well, then it is not you that they are denying, but the Word of God. I would seriously pray about this, and then allow for God to bring an opportunity if it is His will.
Blessings and love~ Lisa

Never Forsaken said...

Brenda, You have such a gift of writing...Have you considered possibly copying this post and somehow sending it to the woman?

What you have written here is very clear and scripturally centered on truth...It would be hard for a believer to deny what they did was a possible transgression...and if they did, well, then it is not you that they are denying, but the Word of God. I would seriously pray about this, and then allow for God to bring an opportunity if it is His will.
Blessings and love~ Lisa

Laurie Collett said...

An amazing post, Brenda. In Joshua 7, Achan stole "the accursed thing" despite God's instruction not to, and as a result, all of Israel suffered for it. That is why it is important that we not condone sin in the church, but instead speak the truth in love. The Biblical principle is to go privately to the person who has transgressed; if they do not wish to change, to go again with 2 or 3 witnesses; and if they persist in their sin, to ask them to leave the church. Praying for you for wisdom in dealing with this situation. God bless, Laurie

Brenda said...

Hi Lisa,
this post is relating to something that happened some time ago and it was when the Lord was teaching me what to do. This, and many other things, have been shown in these kind of ways and I have learned from them. One of the things that I know the Lord has called me to do is share my experiences on the internet.
God bless

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
Yes I agree absolutely with what you have said. As I shared with Lisa in my previous comment, all this was part of my teaching and I believe the situation was dealt with by the Lord at the time. We all have to mature in Christ over a period of time, and even our sharing our testimonies of how the Lord teaches us is all part of building one another up, whether it speaks to those in the same position as myself, who have the same particular calling, or whether it speaks to those who are in the same position as that lady, as all of the church are capable of being.
God bless you Laurie

child of God said...

Hi Brenda,
Holding Christians accountable to God can be tough. Always, when there is an infection, the initial cleansing hurts, yet when that is over with, then pain becomes dull and healing will occur.

This post makes me think about just how sick our church is. Meaning the whole church. We have Christians who accept homosexuality, divorce, adultery and such and they can not stand to hear the word sin. Yet, it is this sin that caused the falling of mankind and it is recognizing of this sin, the removal of it and the acceptance of Jesus Christ, walking in His way that will cleanse us.

Great post with wonderful Scriptures.

Blessings my friend,
<><

Patrinas Pencil said...

Brenda, I love how you weaved these familiar scriptures into your thot process as you related this learning experience. I was excited to see the Ezekiel ch. 33 v. 8 scripture used here. I have shared that scripture many times...with those who have never heard of it. I learned it early on from my pastor daddy. As he took that scripture very seriously. I used to think that it was a scripture just for pastors :) ministers of the Gospel...since it was spoken to the prophet by God...as a very specific responsibility of his position as a watchman. But in my adult life...and personal study of the Word coupled with my personal relationship with Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life...I have come to understand...that it is indeed the Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth... in all things...& in all ways...if we are tuned into and surrendered to His counsel.

I define myself as a black and white believer of scripture. Those 'grey area believers just get all wishy-washy...watered down and luke warm.

I never want to be considered 'God spit', as daddy used to say. So luke warm that He spits me out of His mouth.

But the Holy Spirit showed me recently in a situation similar to what you described here...that I am responsible for the truth of scripture...as it is written and as the Holy Spirit downloads wisdom...understanding and revelation....and...to share it as He directs...in any way He directs.

Prophecy is simply the testimony of Jesus ...and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the lives of those around us....brings that testimony to the surface...in God's appointed time.

Not everyone is called to be a watchman or a minister of the Gospel. But with the new Covenant of Jesus, we are all encouraged to prophsey through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives....as is described in 1 Cor 14:1 "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy." and in vs 39 "Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy,..." to edify the church and to be a witness to unbelievers.

I so agree with your witness...when you stated ..."We have a loving, longsuffering, forgiving God who understands our weakness in the flesh, but He is also a consuming fire. He has sent the Holy Spirit as our teacher to lead us into all truth,.." and further on you said..."Without the Holy Spirit actively being allowed to change us through our obedience to its teaching, we as individuals and as a church will be spiritually lifeless because we shall be still carnal, thereby being dead in our sins."

Spiritually lifeless...dead in our sins!

Your concluding belief that ..."it is a message to all of us to be alert to the teachings of the Holy Spirit, and to allow Him to work through all the members of the body in order to change us collectively into the image of God's Son. God is building His church, and unless the Lord build the house, those who build it labour in vain." was right on!

Man labors in vain...without the discernment and guidance and truth of the HOLY SPIRIT.


Powerful closing, Brenda!

"God forbid that His spiritual children should be 'killed' by a man-made mountain of worldly doctrine and church tradition that could be making the word of God void in the church."

Amen! and Amen!

carry on sister...
blessings and prayers
for your continued
physical as well as
spiritual healing
patrina <")>><

Brenda said...

Hi child of God,
yes the church today is not the same as the original church, due to many false teachings. We can not say that when we walk into a building that the teachings there are necessarily Christian. We can gather together in a house and operate in a way that is more scriptural sometimes. All teaching has to be scripture based and I believe that is why we do not see the blessings of God, including miracles, happening today as much as they should. There are many parts to our body and, just as they all must work together, so too must the many parts of the body of Christ work together.
God bless you.

Brenda said...

Hi Patrina,
yes, prophets are separate from pastors and there are many gifts that should operate within the church that are not operating. Many things are being done by one person in many places and this is not scriptural. Where you say about being 'tuned in' made me smile because after I was born again I felt a completely new being that was learning God's ways through believing in Jesus, and I used to say 'Tune in to radio Jesus' to people when I spoke about Him many times.
I agree with everything you have said Patrina and I thank you for your blessings and your prayers. I love learning from the Holy Spirit and believe whole heartedly that there is nothing to be compared to learning God's ways and maturing in Christ through teaching of that Spirit. No love I ever thought I received or gave in my old life could ever compare to the love of God.
God bless you as you follow the Holy Spirit's instruction in your life and share what He brings you to share.

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

This is a great post Brenda. My reply will be brief because i'm replying from my cell and typing on these touch screen is a bit difficult for me, i tend to make typos a lot when using this. I guess it takes the precision of a surgeons hand to get it right. Anyway, lol. I loved this post. I agree sometimes i feel i'm not certain if what I'm doing is entirely wrong or not. I truly want to do anf love only the things that please the Lord, but sometimes I'm wondering, "well this doesn't seem bad, i'm not thinking or doing anything evil, but why do i feel like i am, maybe this is bad, and because i'm enjoying it i'm finding ways to tell myself it's not so bad." Afterwards i feel bad and confuse because it's written if i rember clearly enough, that whatever isn't done from faith is sin. Then i wonder about the scripture that says happy is the man that is not confemn himself in what he approves. I think that's what it says.

The part where you wrote about warning the woman about what she did wrong and then the other woman in the group told you that you shouldn't, reminds me of many experiences I've had. Whenever somebody, out of love, tries to correct somebody who is doing something we were commanded by God not to do, somebody always says, "oh, your being judgemental". But i wonder what do they think we should do, just let the person do whatever and if they stumble they stumble? Aren't we supposed to be our brothers keeper. I like this scripture "Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear preach on the housetops." Matthew 10:27. We can't be silent when things like that happen. We should pray for boldness so that we would speak what needs to be heard with boldness and love. Great post Brenda I enjoyed it and will message it to a friend of mine for encouragement.

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

My comment turned out to be longer than i thought, lol. Guess typing on my cell phone isn't that difficult after all, just took extra long lol.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, you wrote: "Without the Holy Spirit actively being allowed to change us through our obedience to its teaching"...thought you might want to change "its" to "His".

Brenda said...

Hi Sateigdra,
Do you know what! your comments remind me exactly of how we learn in the Lord. You said 'I guess it takes the precision of a surgeons hand to get it right.' and we can liken God's teaching through the Holy Spirit to that surgeon. In your second comment 'isn't that difficult after all, just took extra long' reminds me of the trials we go through while learning from the Lord.
God bless you Sateigdra, we shall continue the race eh?

Brenda said...

Hello Anonymous,
I believe when 'the', as in the Holy Spirit, is placed before something, the word 'it' is used. If I was saying 'I will send Susan', then I would use the word 'she' when I followed it with 'she will teach you'. At least that is how I learned English grammar. Nice to hear from you though.

Ceil said...

Hi Brenda! ( It looks like a sentence was cut off in the first paragraph?)

Honestly, I was not aware of Achan at all. Thank you for bringing his name and story to your post. It really did help color things, didn't it? And I wonder why this woman would offer her story of hiding money in front of a faith-based group. Was she looking for approval?

It can be very hard to offer a correction to people when I know I am filled with flaws myself. But that's why Scripture is so helpful. We can feel at ease when God has helped us understand it first. The Lord even tells us how to do it! Approach the person alone first, and on from there.
Very powerful story today Brenda. Thank you!
Ceil

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

Yes, Brenda, God willing we will finish this race.

Brenda said...

Hi Ceil,
thank you for mentioning about the first paragraph having a sentence cut off. That was really strange because Hebrews ch. 10 vs 24-27 were put in the place of the missing sentence, and I did not put those verses there. It is as if those verses have been doubled in my post.
I really do not know why this lady told the group what she had done, and was amazed when the leader of the group accused my friend and myself of accusation against the lady when the lady herself had told everyone in the room. We are all full of flaws Ceil but the whole purpose of building one another up is to encourage one another to continue the race, not to continue to do something which would help a person to break the law.
God bless

T-Childs said...

Spot on! An unbelievably powerful post, the best you have ever written, amongst all the other wonderful God breathed posts you have written. Eloquent, articulate, direct and clear. Just like the Bible. We should now call you St Brenda of the Flooded Valleys!!!!!

Brenda said...

I have been wondering how you are Tim, I hope you are ok. All Christians are called saints Tim, it is not a title. Why 'of the flooded valleys'?

T-Childs said...

I'd heard that parts of Wales where seriously flooded, not that I was making a joke about that, but I have a friend I write to down there and I think they have got floods and stuff. And I thought that title was fitting! There are a lot of valleys in Wales hey?! Part of my heart belongs to Wales for a number of reasons, not least I have ancestry back there for hundreds of years, but it's my fave place to visit too.

Frank Blasi said...

Dear Brenda,
My apologies for the delay in commenting.
Yes, I can see a similarity between Achan's sin and that of the benefit cheat, if I can call her that. But as I read your post, I also became aware of some differences between these two incidences -
In Achan's case, the motive was covetiousness. While raiding Jericho and defeating its inhabitants, Achan wanted those goods for himself to make himself wealthy and proud to own these items - a bit like owning the Crown Jewels.
In ther case of the benefit cheat, yes, I agree it was wrong and it was stealing from the State, but I felt that the ultimate motive was fear of accumilating debt, unable to pay fuel bills, or not being able to put food on the table.
In short, not having the faith to believe that God can and will supply all of her needs.
The misdeed should have been rectified but, I believe, with a level of support from the church until the recepient can sustain herself with either reduced benefit or with no benefit at all.
I know that this is easier said than done, but offering her some financial support until she is sure of herself and her faith in God's provision may not have been a bad idea.
God bless.

Brenda said...

Hi Tim,
you are right, there have been floods in Wales, my husband said they were particularly in Aberystwyth, on the coast in mid Wales and Cardigan. We have not had any floods here because we live on a hill near the foothills. I love Wales too Tim. My parents were from England, my mother's ancestry German Jews who came to the UK in the nineteenth century, but I was born in Wales and love it here.
Have been missing your blog posts, maybe you will have one posted soon eh?

Brenda said...

Hi Frank,
It really does not matter if you place a comment on my blog late, I too can only do things in my time. I think you may have misread some of my post because it was not the 'benefit cheat' that was admitting to doing something that was wrong. I don't believe that lady was a Christian, and she was the lady who had lots of money and was on benefits, she was the relative of the lady who was a Christian and who openly admitted to hiding this large sum of money in her own house so that the relative could claim benefits which she did not need.
The part which spoke of Achan was the act of keeping something which was devoted for destruction (our old carnal ways, ie:- the ones which we know are wrong in God's eyes)
God bless you and Alex

T-Childs said...

I adore Wales I would happily live in almost any part of it.

Just about to put up a new post, a second part to the last one I put up. Glad to hear you are not flooded in any way.

Laurie Collett said...

Very true, Brenda -- we can all learn from one another's experiences, which is even easier now, thanks to the Internet! May God bless you for all you do to edify and encourage us through your writing and shared experiences.
Laurie

Brenda said...

The Lord is well able to give you your heart's desire Tim, maybe one day you will live in Wales.

Brenda said...

Laurie,
I love reading and being encouraged in the scriptures through the blogs, it is literally the church on line. That is how the church is supposed to function - each using the gifts given to them by God and sharing their testimonies. That way we will keep the 'thief' from robbing us of what our God has in store for us eh?
God bless you.

Just Be Real said...

A wonderful read Brenda. Thank you for sharing your insight. Blessings.

Brenda said...

Hi JBRm
I was only thinking about you the other day and wondering how you are. I hope you are ok and well.
God bless you Grace

Sandi said...

I am wondering what became of the woman who was hiding things. Did you stay in touch with her?

"to be alert to the teachings of the Holy Spirit, and to allow Him to work"

Amen....amen.

Brenda said...

I am not sure if I did see her again or not, we have moved since then, but all of what happened was also part of my learning. I attend a church now where we are allowed to share scripture or testimony, and I still have the same kind of experiences. So I share those experiences and what I believe they mean, as I do on the blog. I believe that as we are part of One body we are to overcome the enemy by the 'blood of the Lamb' and the word of our testimony as it says in Revelation ch. 12.
God bless