America finds itself in 2019 in a parallel situation to what the Israelites faced shortly after they left Egypt to begin to take the land God had promised them. Here was the situation then:
Israel had escaped their slavery in Egypt, miraculously crossed the Jordan River, and destroyed the fortified city of Jericho -- all because God was with them. They were on a winning streak and feeling strong. So when spies were sent to Ai, the next city to take in claiming the Promised Land, they insisted it wouldn't take the whole army -- a few thousand would do the job. 3,000 warriors were sent and soundly defeated -- a complete rout with 36 of their young men killed. Scripture tells us the effect on the nation, "The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events, and their courage melted away."
Joshua, their leader, fell on his face before God and virtually accused God of letting them get this far only to have the Amorites defeat them! "Get up, God commanded Joshua, Israel has sinned and broken my covenant!.....They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings."
Unbeknown to Joshua and all of Israel, Achan from the tribe of Judah, had taken from Jericho an expensive robe, 200 shekels of silver and a bar of gold. He had buried the stolen goods beneath his tent, feeling pretty sure he would never be found out. But God, who knows all things, knew all about it and was angry. Everything was to have been destroyed, except for silver, gold, bronze, and iron -- that was to be brought into the Lord's treasury. One man's greed, lies, and cover-up was now affecting the whole nation because God had withdrawn his presence.
And so one by one the tribes went before the Lord and Judah was chosen. Then the clans of Judah came before God and the clan of Zerah was singled out. Then the families of Zerah came forward and the family of Zimri was singled out. Finally every member of the Zimri family had to come forward and Achan was singled out. Joshua asked him to give glory to God by telling the truth. Achan said this, "It is true, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel" .....and then he told exactly what he did and where the treasure was buried. With that, Achan, his sons, daughters and livestock were brought to the Valley of Achor where they were stoned and then burned. (Read the entire story in Joshua 7).
This week we heard the testimony of Michael Cohen, a man who has spent over a decade doing the legal and illegal bidding of our president. Mr. Cohen's testimony confirmed the true character of our president, (which we already knew), and exposed some of the "buried treasure" that has been lied about and hidden. As a nation we have spent millions of dollars for the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to sift through the equivalent of tribes, clans, and families to come up with the individuals involved in the fallout from greed and power.
Mr. Cohen took the first step in his redemption and perhaps our national redemption, by telling the truth. As he unloaded secret after secret you could almost see his soul being unburdened from the heavy weights of 10 years. I'm not suggesting Mr. Cohen, from a Jewish family, sees his actions as sin against God, but he has begun to see some of the consequences of his actions and the affects on him, his family, and the entire nation. And like Achan, he and his family will pay a heavy price.
The president has responded that Michael Cohen has lied about him despite where the evidence points. So we as a nation will continue to experience the fall out of the sins of our leader (and his enablers) until they are brought to the light and all of us get right with God. This is another point in our American history where we have the opportunity to "come clean" and we can thank Mr. Cohen this week for starting that walk towards the light.
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