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Put God First

Maybe we're not going to win so much in the other cities. You know, there's a lot in this
first city. Maybe we could just wait until we've conquered three or four cities, and then
we'll take our portion and gi ve it to the Lord then. We'll wait and sort of see how this
goes.
No, He required them, by faith. He said: “the first belongs to Me”. He required them by
faith to take what was the first, and give it to Him, and believe that if they did that, the
rest would all be blessed.
So that first thing, the first portion, the tithe or whatever it is that belongs to the Lord - it
either belongs to the Lord and it's devoted, or it's stolen from the Lord and it's a curse,
so notice what happens here in Joshua 7.
“Now the children of Israel committed a trespass concerning the accursed things (or
„devoted’ things), for Achan took of the devoted things (or the „accursed’ things), and the
anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel”.
Before he took it, it was devoted to the Lord. After he took it, it was a cursed object.
Now this is extraordinary.
That means, I can have an object - take this bottle here. So God says: you give me the
bottle, the first thing - and there's lots of water coming after this. I look at it thinking: I'm
pretty thirsty, I wouldn't mind that you know? I've been fighting all these battles, I've got
to fight this war, and here's all this treasure. I wouldn't mind that, you know? It'd be quite
good for me to have that.
I've got to decide what to do with it. The choice is always mine; so the choice is: either I
give it to God - in which case it's devoted; or I keep it - in which case it's cursed.
Isn't that interesting? That's what He's saying. He said: if you give it to Me, then it's
devoted, and blessing is on the rest; but if you hold it back, it's cursed, and now
everything else is cursed.
So the next thing that happened was: they had no power to stand in the battle. They
were defeated by an inferior army at their next battle; and God's trying to teach us, that
behind the natural, there is a spiritual power.
It wasn't that the army was any less, or they had fewer weapons. The problem was they
lacked power. When Achan held back the thing that was devoted to God, and kept it for
himself, he and everyone around him no longer had power to overcome. The power to
overcome depended on the devoted thing belonging to the Lord.
It’s the same thing with our finances, and our resources. If we keep back from God what
is owing to Him, it turns from being devoted to Him, to being a curse for us. When I give
my first portion to the Lord, it ensures blessing on the rest. If I hold it back, I'm under the
power of Mammon.
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