Summary: Some of us remember the Battle of Jericho but not very many remember Achan, who took some things which were not intended for anyone at the time. What he took, he couldn't keep, and he paid with his life.

Introduction: Israel had just won their first victory in Canaan. They had followed God’s commands to walk around the city, shout, and then God would do the rest. They next decided to attack Ai, a smaller city, but something awful happened. The sin of one man was the reason why.

1 Achan’s deceit

Text: Joshua 7:1-5, KJV: 1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel. 2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. 3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. 4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. 5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.

Achan was one of the soldiers from the tribe of Judah who took part in the battle of Jericho. The good news was that Israel took the city, using God’s methods, and received a complete victory. The bad news was that Achan took a few things for himself even though Joshua had commanded them to stay away from everything belonging to Jericho. All of it was accursed (Josh 6:17)!

I’ve sometimes wondered how Achan was able to hide all of the items he took so that nobody saw it or apparently said anything about it. He took a “wedge of gold” weighing 50 shekels, 200 shekels of silver and a “goodly Babylonish garment”. At the very least, it would be very hard for him to muffle the sound of the silver clinking together as he returned to his tent! Further, how could he hide that garment? And as Achan himself said later, he saw the garment “among the spoils,” so clearly he had no business taking it!

But even though he may have thought he got by with taking these items, he had sinned. And because of his sin, Israel—the whole nation—had sinned in God’s eyes.

God’s judgment fell on the nation because of Achan’s sin. Verses 2-5 describe the battle and Israel’s defeat. Nearly 36 Israelite soldiers lost their lives, needlessly, in what should have been an easy battle, but became a bitter defeat. The writer describes the reaction: “the hearts of the people melted, and became as water”.

2 Achan’s discovery

Text, Joshua 7:16-21, KJV:16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken: 17 And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken: 18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. 20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: 21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish 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.

In verses 5-15, Joshua expressed his dismay about what had happened. Israel had not only lost the battle but also nearly 36 soldiers. None of them had to die and none of them would have died except for this fact: one man had sinned and in God’s eyes, the whole nation had sinned.

Then as now, sin would have to be dealt with.

And to do this, God told Joshua what to do: casting lots (an acceptable form of finding truth in those days) to select the tribe, family, household, and the one individual responsible. The next morning, he did exactly that.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion