The Spirit of Mammon
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.
Now why did this guy go for it? The Bible makes it clear why he took it. Joshua 7:20
“They finally found him out”, he said: “I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and
this is what I did: when I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two
hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels - here it is - I
coveted them, and took them, and I hid them”.
The Bible says in the New Testament, that coveting is idolatry. So what happened is
this. He went in, he fought the battle. When he fought the battle and they conquered the
city, he comes into a place where there are these garments, in silver and gold.
Now the instructions were clear: this belongs to the Lord. Give it to the Lord. But he
looked at it and thought: ooh man, I could do with these - this is good. He kept it for
himself. He coveted what belonged to God; and so the sin of coveting, or greed,
indicates he was under the power of the spirit of Mammo n.
Mammon is a spirit that moves in greed, you just can't have enough - so a problem
came. Notice this: before he took it, it's devoted; after he took it, it's cursed.
This is how it seems to me to work: I can either have 100 per cent of everything I have -
and it's all under a cursing, and under the power of the spirit of Mammon; or I can have
90 per cent of what I have - and it's blessed.
I have found from years of experience, that 90 per cent with blessing, is better than the
100 per cent with trouble. I know at times it has been very difficult to uphold that
commitment, but it was always about an issue of the heart. Will I put God first, and trust
Now I want to just pick up four very simple heart issues that lie behind giving the first
portion to the Lord. Remember Jesus said: “the battle is one for your heart”, there's a
spirit that is seeking to conquer your heart, so here they are.