"Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound. I wanted them so much that I took them. They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.” - Joshua 7:21 NLT
THERE'S NO DOUBT THAT GOD WANTS US TO WIN!
I don't even need to quote a scripture for that, because it just so happens be the the whole point of the book! Sometimes I feel, like we live in this strange paradigm where we are to humbly serve God but then he turns around and calls co-heirs with Christ who is seated at the right hand of the Father and blesses us with every spiritual blessing! (Eph 1:3).
Where does one principle finish and the other one start? I'm sure you've had moments like me where you have questioned..."do I need to be more like Mother Teresa with her orphanage and vow of poverty? Or Creflo Dollar with business networks, teaching resources, big thinking organisations and a private jet? I think the short answer to a long theological debate is that both types of leaders have operated out of the revelation that God has given them!
Looking at the nature of Christ, it is clear that we are to be the servant of all (Mark 9:35) and he that loses his life for Christ, will find it (Matt 10:39). But also, God has said that the blessing of the Lord makes a man rich and that he adds no sorrow to it! (Prov 10:22). Many people whom God blessed and used in the Bible were VERY wealthy and successful (ie: Abraham, Jacob, Solomon just to name a few).
All of this being said...today, we still see Leaders and preachers fall because failure to reconcile themselves to these issues. Anointed men and women of God who succumb to the temptation of not just money, but power and success. I have such a strong conviction that we need to not judge and speculate about the motives of individuals, but much rather speak life over who they are and pray that God uses ALL OF US to fulfil what he wills for his people. GOD wants you to be successful! He needs he people to stand up and be noticed so that their light and good deeds will shine out before men and so that they will praise our Father in heaven! (Matt 5:16)
In Joshua Chapter 7, we see a really unfortunate story unfold where a man called Achan disobeys Joshua and God. The Israelites win a stunning battle where there is much glory and spoils on display. Jericho, the first frontier of the promised land has been smashed, it is a complete miracle and total display of God's ability and power.
The Bible says, that a called Achan steals some of the spoils from the victory, some silver, gold and a fine robe from Babylon. He was told, just like everyone else that this was strictly forbidden - these things were to be solely reserved for God! Achan is overwhelmed by desire and temptation then buries these things under his tent (his "safe place") and interestingly buries the silver deeper. In my opinion, that saddest thing about this story is that his whole family pays the price! And just to put the cherry on top of the situation, God decides that in the next victories to come from the cities that they conquer - they are allowed to keep the plunder!!
What we can alI see in this section of history, is that God wanted his people to rule the land. He wanted Israel to have dominion, wealth, success so that they could bring his Kingdom to earth. But he wanted to make sure first things come first! He is the first motive, He is the reason and all the Glory goes to Him! This evidently was an ongoing test of faithfulness for the Israelites. There is such a danger as leaders, that when we see victory and success come, that the desire to store some of the glory, credit and benefits for ourselves can become quite overwhelming. After all, it's hard work being a leader sometimes right?
Achan, unfortunately got lured but the thought of a quick money gain, a little bit security, comfort and "get ahead" for his family. When I read this story again, I saw how he took the robe from Babylon, Babylon represents "The world", Achan stole what the world would have said is the latest and greatest fashion accessory and the "right look" and presentation to have, when all God wanted was for him to clothe himself in righteousness. I took particular note of how he buried the silver deeper than the rest. It's our inheritance to be blessed financially but we can't hide that motive in our heart while we front up with good intentions (Josh 7:21) no matter how deep we've buried it, God will see it. I don't know about you, but I don't want to fail that test and pay tragic price. Not only do I want to experience God's victory, I want my family to follow after me in seeing the blessing and victory of God again and again!
We can't be afraid of walking in favour, we can't shy away when God wants to use us and promote us amongst the nations. Success and even wealth are God's concepts! BUT we can't afford to get our priorities wrong! God won't judge us on how "happening" our youth group is OR even how impeccable our fashion sense and use of fresh, current vernacular wins us the respect of our peers and followers. He's going to judge us on our obedience, He's going ask us about what did we do with the gifts and calling He gave us! And certainly, most certainly He is going to want all the glory!
My ultimate message is this...If only Achan had held on, if only his only his priorities were in the right order, Achan would have been more blessed than he could have ever dreamed! If he'd just waited for God's plan of provision...there were around 30 more cities that the Israelities had victory over and could take possessions from!!
My prayer is that, we as a generation of young leaders wouldn't be fixated on how to just relate to the world and conform to an insatiable desire for comfort, affirmation and fast success but indeed we would relay God's heart for the world and display his power unto salvation by walking in obedience. And when we do...not only will this generation walk in his promise, so will YOU AND I!
Some praise and prayer points I'd like to share with you:
We had an incredible first ever "Lift Leaders Summit" in Copenhagen two weeks ago. Over 50 aspiring leaders gathered together. Ps Sunjay preached and incredible word and the sessions will soon be available for purchase on our website www.liftleaders.com
- Joel's immigration visa application to be approved (for ministry work in Denmark).
- Trip to Australia will be a powerful time of ministering and connections.
- For Wisdom as we develop resources for Lift Leaders and plan 2018.
- Health, Protection and provision for my family.
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