At the entrance of the Israelites into thePromiseLand, God gave an instruction to the Israelites.

“And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp ofIsraela curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.” (Jos. 6:18-19)

After the fall ofJericho, this instruction was violated by Achan, an Israelite; he made the following confession,

“And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonian garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it” (Jos. 7:20-21).

The violation of this instruction by Achan became a snare for Achan andIsraelas a whole. The violation costIsraeltheir victory over Ai. As this violation affectedIsraellikewise it affected Achan and his whole family. The vocabulary for Achan’s violation is called greed.

Greed defined

Greed by definition is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserve for survival and comfort: especially, high desire for and pursuit of wealth, goods, status and power.

Greed breeds other sins

Achan touched the accursed things that was commanded not to be touched, thus taking things that does not belong to him, and possessing what was separated for God only.

Many in this present day have touched accursed things in respect of taking possession of what is not theirs. To what would one liken this unholy action? Six things or violations had taken place when someone takes a thing that is not theirs. The Lord gave these six violations based on Achan’s greed – Jos. 7:11.  

Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled (deceived) also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.”

  1. Israelhad sinned
  2. Israelhad transgressed
  3. Someone had taken accursed things
  4. Someone had stolen what is not his/her
  5. Someone had deceived
  6. Someone had put accursed things among his/her own stuff.

Achan’s sin had affected and had become the sin and transgression of allIsrael. When someone is greedy and excessively desirous to possess, the phrase “buy all means” follows. Whatever is acquired by all means in most cases is unrighteous or illegitimate. There are three by-products of greed that are unconsciously displayed in addition to the six violation mentioned above.

  1. Disloyalty
  2. deliberate betrayal of all trust for personal gain
  3. bribery

Consequence of Achan’s greed

The consequences of Achan’s greed causedIsraelto lose the war of Ai, and caused the annihilation of his entire possession and his family, because he put the accursed things among his own stuff. Achan’s greed was his own downfall.

It is saddened and unfortunate that many Christians like to move faster above God’s pace. In the process of life or in the wilderness of life; endurance and patience are very essential spiritual gifts that one needs to exercise before achieving any success. Many like to take the short cut as against being patient for God’s timing.

Satan is so crafty that he monitors every moment of desperation in the life of the children of God. At the tail end of achieving success in any undertaking, he likes to put a stumbling block to cause a child of God who is not vigilant enough of his/her moments to fall. We should be mindful that most of the things we are anxious of are things that are already in place; however, they are due to possess at the appointed time.

Ironically for Achan, God allowed the Israelites to take the spoils in the next victory at the second battle of Ai (Jos. 8:2). Had Achan being less greedy, he would have participated in the booty of the rest campaigned conquest of the wholePromiseLand. He was unfaithful in small thing and robbed himself of bountiful spoils.

What happened to Achan sets as example to us who are living in this end time; however, many people still find themselves entangled in greed. Many are too greedy to the extent that they would do anything to any length to acquire whatever they set their mind to do. Even if it means to murder another human being who crosses their path.

Out of ignorance, unconsciousness or willful action, the consequence of their action cut their life short and they died prematurely. They are destined to die, because they are cursed for acquiring accursed things. Psalm 1 verses 10 to 19 advised us not to follow this evil and deadly way.

Why greedy?

Why would someone be greedy and excessively desirous to possess more than what he/she needs or deserves or taking over another’s possession. Apostle Paul described a greedy person as one whose

  1. Understanding is darkened,
  2. Being alienated from the life of God
  3. Ignorance in them,
  4. Blindness of their heart;
  5. Past feeling have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness (Eph. 4:17-19).

This is evident and a total reflection of what operates in our societies today. Those at the corridor of power and the wealthy in our societies have abused the use of their endowments to oppress the weak and less privileges.

Case scenario

In the Old Testament, there was a king ofIsraelcalled Ahab with his wicked wife Jezebel. Both greedily coveted a land belonging to a poor man called Naboth. Ahab requested for Naboth’s land in exchange for his, what he said was better. Naboth refused to exchange his inheritance for the king’s land. Why would the king wanted to give up his own better land for the poor man’s land?

Because Naboth refused to release his land, Jezebel, wife of Ahab planned by bribing two men scoundrels into giving false testimony against Naboth, and have some people executed the murder of Naboth and his sons by stoning (2ki. 9:26). Ahab and Jezebel confiscated the landof Naboth. By this act, Ahab violated the 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th commandments, summed up as having no love for his neighbor.

Both Ahab and Jezebel paid for their sin of greediness, they both died a mysterious death; dogs ate and licked their blood (1ki. 22:37-38; 2ki. 9:30-37); not that alone, Ahab’s posterity was cut off inIsrael(2ki. 10:6-8) just as the whole family of Achan perished for Achan’s greed.

The world of greed

There is no how someone who is greedy will not affect another person negatively. The greedy gets his/her way at the expense of another; conversely, God recompense vengeance on the greedy eventually.

Is it not the quest to make excessive profit that caused some wealthy ones inUSAto move their businesses toSouth East Asiaand some third world countries at the expense of the American citizens at home, who helps built these businesses? When one is greedy, the other one is hurt. Because of greediness for profit, many lost their jobs at home, thereby making life tough and unbearable to them.

How about the third world countries, why would one person want to become a life dictator in this modern day democracy? Is it not because they are greedy for power? No wonder, most of this dictators or dictators under the disguise of running democracy oppressed their subjects; high percentage of their population lived in poverty. These tyrant dictators commit series of homicides everyday.

Most of the advance countries in the world are not exonerated from this evil. It is a universal dilemma. The greedy wealthy and power mongers among them have become or form a club of assassins. Whoever crosses their path or tries to stop them from achieving their evil goal is eliminated just like Jezebel did to Naboth.

Greed in the church

It is not surprising anymore to hear that this lust of flesh is very rampart and evident in the church today. ThechurchofGodhas become the seat of envy and character assassination just because of position and wealth. What we have in the church today are ministers of psychology who hypnotized their congregation for extortion.

Ministers-in-charge of congregations have become subject of discussion and character assassination by their subordinates. Conversely, Ministers-in-charge has become a party member of opposition who debar the growth of the diligent in the church. They are Ministers of the church account, no more ministers of the word: stealing and not able to account for the church financial position. The welfare of the congregation is no more of any importance; all that matters is the tithes of the congregation. The pulpit has become the seat of jealousy and envy.

Moreover, church members that are holding different designation in the church are not faithful in what has been committed to them; rather, they eyed or covet others designation. Those in charge of money are holding back part of what is being collected in the church for personal gains. Most church members are robbing the church by not paying their tithes correctly; those who do not believe in tithe are not faithful in the grace they claimed.

Should I stop here? There are all sorts of absurd characters in the church today. There you will find people like Cain, Joseph’s brothers who will destroy you before you notice; there are people like Korah and his group; Minister like Nadab and Abihu who make strange fire in the church; we have thieves like Achan and Judas Iscariot; leaders like Ahab; and the so-called men of God like the high priest Ananias who lead in the killing of the prince of peace. 

Is the church bad?

Is the church that bad? No. the church is still like the congregation ofIsraelin the days of the wilderness and beyond; though, there are some bad eggs that mar its image. However we still have men and women of faith like that of Abraham; we have courageous men like that of Moses, Joshua and Caleb; we have the diligent like that of Joseph, Isaac and Daniel. How about leaders like David; we still have Ministers that resemble Phinehas, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul; and subordinates who rose to be pillars of Christianity who resemble Peter, Timothy and among other.

Controlling greed

There is the need to know that any achievement in life is not by power or by might, but by the spirit of God Almighty. People who are mightier than you have failed in the same course in which you have been successful: likewise, powerful people like Goliath were easily brought down by people like David. However, the Bible says,

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas. 1:17).

Furthermore, the Bible states, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it” (Pro. 10:22). No wonder, many who curiously “by all means” want to satisfy their inordinate desires never enjoyed it, because they never have enough. They are grave that never satisfies the admittance of the dead. Their desire is never satisfied.

Godly contentment, antidote for greed

Apostle Paul admonishes,

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1Tim. 6:6-10).

From the above Paul’s advice, it is advisable to all Christians not to be too greedy about anything. There are many extremely unfavorable experiences that greed brings into ones and another ones life based on the above quote; some of which are,

  • Temptation and a snare
  • Foolish and hurtful lust
  • Drown men in destruction and perdition
  • Backsliding from the faith
  • Piercing oneself through with many sorrows

Consider this, our Lord Jesus said,

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon”.  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matt. 6:24-25).

Furthermore, our Lord said,

“… (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow (which exactly why many are greedy today): for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof “(Matt. 6:32-34).

In order to avoid being affected with the adversities produce by greed, we need to be contended in whatever position we find ourselves. Acquisition through hard working without robbing others of their possession and without adding any accursed things to your stuff is a great gain and blessing from above.


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About the Author

Lawrence B. Abitogun, called by the special grace of the Almighty God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by the empowerment of the Holy Ghost, witnessing and preaching the gospel to the world, was born to a Christian parents at Uso, Ondo state, Nigeria. He received his elementary and secondary education in Nigeria from 1959-1971. He obtained a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts and a Master of Science in Industrial Arts at North Texas State University, Denton TX USA in 1979 and 1982 respectively.

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