One of my all time favorite things to do in life is get away deep in the northern woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and take a walk along the dirt road that leads to a small foot bridge that over looks Piatt Lake to the west and the Lagoon to the east. On a calm, sunny day when the water is like a sheet of glass, it is easy to catch a glimpse of a water bug skimming along the top of the water, a turtle popping out for a sun bath or a fish jumping to crest the surface. This is creation in all of its beauty! These actions will produce a ripple, a disturbance, in the calm of the water spanning in all directions. This last summer my kids and I spent hours in this spot watching the water for these things, and before long we were doing what comes natural. We picked up stones and sticks, and threw them in to make our own ripples. It was effortless to cast a stone and then hypnotically watch the ripples move across the water.
Recently in Japan, we have been reminded just how devastating ripples can actually be when the force causing the ripple and the size of the wave out-scale its surroundings. The whole world can be affected.
Have you considered the Ripple Effect?
In Joshua 7, Joshua and the Israelites experienced a pretty dramatic ripple effect. One of the instruction that God had given them as they pursued victory over Jericho was to set a side all the spoils to Him. No keeping any gold, silver, jewels, or clothing for themselves! All of it was to go to God.
Can you picture the setting? Israel was enjoying the moment. They once again witnessed the amazing power of God and the continued fulfillment of His promises in the victory. But one man throw a stone of trouble. Achan looked at the spoils,wanted what he saw and stole from God!
The small decisions of one man rippled out to affect the condition of an entire nation. Men died in battle that day resulting in wives without husbands, children without fathers and mothers without sons. More importantly a nation now had a holy God who's anger was set against them. Achan, his family and a nation would now have to suffer the consequences in the Valley of Achor (Trouble).
I am concerned that we all too often steal from God when we look at life selfishly, believe and repeat the lies of temptation and hide sin deep in our hearts much like Achan. These ripples of trouble are devastating! The choices we make in our lives affect more people than just ourselves. Beware of the temptation to rationalized your sins by saying they are too small or too personal to hurt anyone but you.
Get Up! Purify yourself! (Joshua 7:13) Today you can experience the peace of God that comes through the cleansing power of confession and repentance so that your life will produce ripples of peace and love.