On the television screen, beautiful people extolled the virtues of an amazing product. They said it was versatile, durable, and affordable. But after reading the fine print and factoring in the overpriced shipping cost, they revealed the total price. Despite the ability to spread out the cost over “six easy payments,” the final tally was staggering to me. While I was tempted at first, I weighed the cost and decided it wasn’t worth it.
If only Achan had considered the consequences of his desires first. His story is a perfect example of the destructive power of temptation.
It begins when, despite expecting an easy victory, Israel was defeated by the city of Ai (Josh. 7:3-5). As Joshua soon found out, their loss was due to their failure to follow God’s instructions after Jericho was conquered. The Hebrew soldiers were specifically told to bring all the silver and gold from the defeated city into the nation’s treasury (Josh. 6:19). However, Achan ignored that command and took a robe, a couple stacks of silver, and a gold bar (vs. 21).
The tragic story culminates when Achan’s sin against the Lord is revealed, and he and his family are stoned to death. They and all his possessions are burned then buried in the Valley of Achor (vs. 24-26).
I’m pretty sure that Achan would have walked right past that stack of loot if he’d have taken the time to consider the fine print that was figuratively scrawled into the bottom of that gold brick. But he took what he wanted without ever realizing that the true cost of his “purchase” would include his life and family.
Satan is a master salesman. He taps into our unbridled cravings and conceals the true costs. And too often, we choose to satisfy self-centered longings with His promises of imaginary benefits. We sign on the dotted line, and before the ink dries, it’s often too late to undo the damage.
The cost. We can only see it if we train our minds to do so by mediating on God’s Word. When we regularly spend time with God, He gives us the strength to change the channel, tear up the contract, and walk away from deception. For with Christ, “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6 NIV).
Dr. Stanley describes what we can do to turn down the enemy’s sales pitches in his message “Dealing With Temptation Wisely,” airing today on radio.