The Anger of the Lord

God still hates sin, and He still gets angry.

Joshua 7 (7)

Read Joshua 7.

Reflect.
1.  Do you suppose the Lord still gets angry with His people? Why would He? How would that anger be expressed?

2.  How do you see the glory of God in the situation reported on in Joshua 7? 

Think about it.
Joshua 7 begins and ends with the anger of the Lord. He is angry with Israel at the beginning of the chapter, and His anger is satisfied and turned away from His people at the end. In between, sin is discovered, exposed, and eradicated, all as God leads and according to His Word. Lessons abound for us in Joshua 7.

First, we do well to remember that God is not only sovereign but omniscient and omnipresent. He sees us when we sin, even though no one else does. Sin is always offensive to God, especially on the part of those He has chosen, called, and blessed. Unless we discipline our hearts to hate sin as much as God does, we run the risk of finding ourselves from time to time in the crosshairs of divine anger.

Second, sin has consequences that we cannot anticipate, and very often those consequences break bad on people other than ourselves. All Israel suffered because of Achan’s sin. Thirty-six men died. His sons and daughters suffered. The entire nation was humbled and chastised because one man did not hate sin enough to obey the explicit instructions of the Lord. We never sin alone; that is, when we sin, we are never alone in it. By sinning we show that we not only do not love God as we should, we don’t love our neighbors, either.

Finally, sin cannot prevail. Sin will be eradicated both to satisfy God’s anger and to renew His grace. But they who would know the benefit of God’s work in overcoming sin must “sanctify themselves” (v. 13) by setting themselves apart from all known sin and obeying the Word of the Lord. Jesus has overcome sin and death by becoming sin for us and taking the wrath of God upon Himself. But the benefits of His saving work come only to those who believe, repent, and obey His Word. 

Meditate and discuss.
1.  Sin troubles God, others, and ourselves. How can we keep this in mind, to help us in resisting temptations to sin?

2.  As long as we harbor sin in our lives, the promises of God will elude us. Rather, God will prevent us from realizing those precious and very great promises by which we partake of His presence and power (2 Pet. 1.4). How can focusing more on the promises of God help us to resist temptations to sin?

3.  What symbols can you identify in this chapter? What role do those symbols fulfill? Would having symbols like this in your life help to keep you from sinning?

“The throwing of stones by the whole people was a general sign of detestation, by which they declared that they had no share in the crime which they thus avenged, and that they held it in abhorrence. The heap of stones was intended partly as a memorial to posterity, and partly to prevent any one from imprudently gathering particles of gold or silver on the spot, if it had remained unoccupied. For although the Lord had previously ordered that the gold of Jericho should be offered to him, he would not allow his sanctuary to be polluted by the proceeds of theft.” John Calvin, Commentary on Joshua (1509-1564 AD)

Lord, give me wisdom to recognize temptation and strength to resist it, so that…

Pray Psalm 103.

Psalm 103 reminds us of God’s many benefits as well as of our tendency to drift from Him. Find a verse to memorize to help you in resisting temptation.

Psalm 103 (Old 100th: All People That on Earth Do Dwell)
O my soul, bless the Lord’s great Name!  His many benefits proclaim:
He pardons sins and heals disease, and from the pit grants us release.

With mercy rich and steadfast love He satisfies us from above,
Revives our youth, works righteousness, and justice serves for the oppressed.

His ways to Moses He made known; to Israel His great works were shown.
The Lord is full of mercy sweet, and with His favor does us meet.

To anger He but slowly goes; abounding love to us He shows.
He will not always scold nor chide; His anger will not e’er abide.

Our sins He casts from us away; He shows compassion every day.
He knows our frame, that we are dust, so on His goodness let us trust.

Now as for us like grass we fail, though for a time our flesh prevail.
God’s Spirit blows across our face and withers sinners in their place.

But evermore to those who fear the Lord brings loving kindness near; 
His righteousness to them extends and to their children without end.

He rules upon His throne in heav’n; His sovereign rule o’er all is giv’n.
You angels, bless the Lord, rejoice, who live in strength to heed His voice.

All you who serve Him, bless the Lord, all you who heed His righteous Word!
Let all throughout the cosmos whole unite to praise Him, with my soul!

T. M. Moore

The seven lessons in this week’s study in the book of Joshua, and all previous weeks, are available as free downloads by clicking here.

Where does the book of Joshua fit in the ongoing story of God’s covenant? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you discover the place in God’s work of redemption not only of Joshua but of all the books of the Bible. God’s Covenant is a valuable resource to guide you in all your studies in God’s Word. To order your copy, click here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from 
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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