Wednesday, October 19, 2011
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Let's say that someone steps on the wooden backstairs of your house. Imagine what they do when all of a sudden one of those stairs caves in. Okay, whose fault is it the stair caved in? Well you could blame it on your friend and say, "'Bout time you went on a diet, isn't it buddy?" Or could it be that it wasn't their weight that really made it collapse? Could it be that those little bugs got in and ate it from the inside; and it was already weakened? In fact, even a skinny friend might have made it cave in.
Well, when they call termites a pest, they are really right about that. If you've ever had them in your house, you know what it means to try to get rid of them and you know the damage they can do. You seldom if ever see them, but they quietly, subversively eat away at that wood; and one day beams can cave in, houses can sag, steps can collapse. Not so much because of the weight put on them, but because of the weakness on the inside.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Spiritual Termites."
Our word for today from the Word of God about spiritual termites is found in the book of Joshua 7, where they had a problem with them, and I'm reading in verse 8. You need to know the context first. The Israelites have been winners at the battle of Jericho when the walls caved in. They have then gone on to the battle of Ai and have been defeated by a much smaller force, and a number of their people have been killed. What many of them don't realize is that there is among them a family that has disobeyed God's orders. God's orders were to take no loot out of the city of Jericho, but Achan and his family did it and hid it. And that is ultimately the reason for Israel's defeat.
Joshua is now on his knees and saying, "Lord, what's happened, how come we lost? I thought we were going to be given this Promised Land," and here's what he says. "O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies. The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this. They will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will You do for your own great name?" The Lord said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?" and then in three words He tells what the real problem is. It's not the Canaanites; it's not military defeat; that's what Joshua thinks the problem is. Here's the three word summary of the problem; God simply says, "Israel has sinned" (Joshua 7:8-11).
See, Joshua was doing what we do a lot of times; he was misinterpreting the setback in his life. He thought it was the situation, it was the pressure, it was the enemy that was the problem, but it's not the enemy's strength. It's the not the problem without that defeats us, it's the weakness within—like that stair that collapses because of the termite damage. It's a sin that we've been tolerating and it suddenly becomes noticeable when there's a major setback or a defeat, and you have been weakened, eaten away, corroded by that sin. That's the reason things are collapsing.
Don't blame the pressure. Don't blame the problem. Don't blame the people. It might be a mistake to be looking at the financial problem or the medical problem or the personnel problem or whatever the frustration is as being the issue. It's the result not the cause. Maybe you have, without realizing it, become careless with the truth. Or you've been putting things ahead of people, neglecting some people. Or it could be that you've been slowly seduced by materialism, and your values are all inverted. There's a sin maybe you just won't repent of, or you've been flirting with immorality. Whatever it is, the termites of sin have weakened you.
And the defeat you're experiencing—it's not to bury you, it's to draw your attention to the sin you've consistently ignored. So exterminate the sin; do a little rebuilding, and you'll be stronger than ever. With the weakness inside corrected, you can be a winner again.