The Valley of Trouble

Scripture: Joshua 7-8, Psalm 69, 1 Corinthians 5

Observation/application

It was interesting to read the story of Achan along with the story of the man in the Corinthian church who was sleeping with his stepmother.

Achan disobeyed God, and brought trouble on all Israel: as a result of Achan’s disobedience, the Israelites lost the battle of Ai, and 36 of their soldiers died; the nation lost its nerve and their enemies were emboldened against them.  Achan’s sin threatened the life of the nation!  No wonder they called that place, “The Valley of Trouble.”  

Paul told the Corinthian church to expel the man who was sleeping with his stepmom.  The purpose of the expulsion was twofold.  First, it was to save the man himself (v. 5).  Being cast out of the church would hopefully awaken the man to the seriousness of his sin, cause him to repent and result in his salvation.  Second, it was to save the church.  Just as Achan’s sin threatened the nation, this man’s sin threatened the church.  Paul used the imagery of yeast: “‘A little bit of yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise’.  You must remove the old yeast of sin so that you will be entirely pure.”  Left alone, the sin would spread and corrupt the church.

In both cases, sin brought trouble to the whole community and had to be dealt with decisively for the good of the community.  Sin spreads, and sin has consequences.  No man is an island; what we do has much broader repercussions than we realize.

This should result in some soul-searching.  Is there any sin in my life that I’m tolerating, but should be terminating?  Any command of God that I’ve been ignoring or disobeying?  

Psalm 139:23–24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Prayer: There is my prayer today Lord: search me.  Show me if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  I want to be an influence for good, not evil.  I want the repercussions of my life to be positive, not negative.  I want to bless not harm the community.