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Joshua 7:6-15 -

The humiliation.

I. THE BITTERNESS OF REPENTANCE .

1. The sting of sin is sharper than its pleasure. The uneasiness which followed on Achan's transgression far outweighed any pleasure he could have derived from it. For, first, the possession of his treasure was itself a trouble. He had to hide it in his tent, and to watch carefully lest any one should discover it. Next, he brought death upon thirty-six of his innocent fellow-countrymen. Lastly, he brought the keenest distress and humiliation upon Joshua and the whole congregation. So it always is. The sting which follows on our first deliberate disobedience of God's commands is always far keener than the pleasure that disobedience gave us. The fear of detection, the oppression of a guilty secret, far outweighs any happiness sinful indulgence can give. And the distress which our misdeeds are apt to bring on those who are bound to us by the nearest and dearest of ties is frequently altogether out of proportion to the momentary satisfaction we have derived from our wrong doing.

2. The reaction that follows on sin is often fatal to faith. Thus Joshua's courage gave way. He reproached God, he made sure of defeat and destruction, he wished he had never crossed Jordan. So are we often weakened in our warfare against God's enemies by the discouragements and disasters the sins of Christians (perhaps unknown to ourselves) have brought on us. So in our own hearts, after some great failure, the consequence of hidden evil within us which we have not been careful to detect, we are overwhelmed with sorrow and confusion, we think it useless to strive, we are tempted to abandon our Christian profession, we wish we had never undertaken its responsibilities, we cry, "Would God we had been content and dwelt on the other side Jordan!"

II. THE REPROACH OF SIN . Achan's sin brought not only sorrow, but disgrace, after it. "The Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it." Consequences flow from sin which we had never thought of when we committed it. Our relatives and friends have to suffer for our misdeeds. Our order in society must bear the burden of our misconduct. The cause of Christ must be beaten back because we have abandoned it. There is a never-failing connection between sin and shame. If we do not feel it for our ourselves, others must feel it for us.

III. THE PROMPT MEASURES NECESSARY TO AVERT ITS CONSEQUENCES . This may be regarded as affecting religious bodies or individuals.

HOMILIES BY S.R. ALDRIDGE

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