In Joshua chapter 7 we read about Achan’s sin. In short, Achan, an Israelite, broke a direct command of God by taking some of the “devoted things” from Jericho. Jericho was given to the Israelites as the first city to fall on their way to conquering and occupying the Promised Land. God made it clear that all the gold and sliver items were to be put in the treasury and no one should take them (see Joshus 6). The consequences of taking these things would be to forfeit God’s favor in future battles and the one who sinned must die. Sure enough, the Israelites suffered great loss in the battle with the army of Ai, the next city on the hit list. Thirty-six Israelites died. Joshua, in total bewilderment, thought God had let him and the people down, only to discover Achan was the guilty party. Achan gave in to the temptation and took some of the items, which led to his public execution.
I recommend you take a few minutes to read Joshua 6 & 7 in the Bible to get the full context to the story. This was a challenging point in the story of God’s people. God was making some things abundantly clear that can serve you well today.
- True success depends on depending on God. This goes back to Joshua 1:8 and God’s words to Joshua, "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
- God is always just and fair. God was not mean or unjust in His response. God proved His character as a promise-keeper by following through on the consequences of Achan’s sin.
- Sin is serious. It is tempting to refer to sin as a mistake. You may even prefer the lighter term. After all, we all make mistakes, right? However, the word “sin” forces you to see your choices as an offense to a Holy God. It is important that we not lose the seriousness of the word “SIN.”
- Sin has a predictable downward spiral. This downward spirial is clearly described in Achan’s confession. The progression has four stages: See it. Want it. Take it. Hide it.
- Your sin can disrupt God's work in and through you. This is the law of sowing and reaping. Your choices have consequences. God never removes His love but your sin can certainly disrupt His work in and through you and your confidence following Him.
Here are 5 questions I highly recommend you think through regarding what God is teaching you through Joshua 6 & 7.
- On a scale of 1-10 how seriously do you treat sin?
- Where does your dependence on God stop short?
- What sinful or worldly desire has captured your eyes?
- Can you identify where you are in the downward spiral of sin?
- What do you need to confess today?