The Lure of a Beautiful Cloak

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.” Luke 11:34-35

How could he? After the magnificent crossing of the Jordan and the triumphant taking of Jericho in the Promised land under God’s obvious favor, Joshua 7 recounts how Achan allowed some shiny objects to lure him from God, and Israel suffered the consequences. He’d been a select warrior among the relatively few chosen to take Ai, and knew well the command from Joshua 6:18-20: “Keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest…you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it.  But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.” But after a defeat at Ai, the death of 36 troops and the disheartening of Israel, the Lord explained to Joshua that Israel had sinned. When confronted, Achan confessed. “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did:  when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

How quickly a look becomes lust becomes a fall! It’s a biblical and human pattern. O be careful little eyes what you see! Tim Keller describes idolatry as “looking at something and saying, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.’ An idol is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” It is a good thing that becomes an ultimate thing, causing disordered affections in our heart. What is frightening is how effortlessly and insidiously a seemingly innocent look can distort vision and clear thinking. (Genesis 3:6; 2 Samuel 11:2-4; Counterfeit Gods)

While it may be easy for me to look on and say it’s ridiculous to give in to stealing a pretty garment and some money and bring destruction on a whole family and the reputation of your nation, but I must consider my own heart and actions. Whose reputations have I harmed by giving in to loose talk? What glory that is rightfully God’s is stolen by self-promotion? How are loved ones prevented from seeing God’s triumphs by my unwillingness to do the hard thing? To trust His sufficiency? How has deliberate disobedience and selfishness discouraged another’s faith or caused them to stumble?

Good Father, purify my eyes, expose my idolatry. May I desire You above all else, Your word and ways as my chief delight.

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