Summary: Achan's sin is exposed after Israel is routed at Ai. What does it teach us? How do we respond to his destruction?
3.10.19 Joshua 7:16–26
16 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was taken. 17 The clans of Judah came forward, and he took the Zerahites. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was taken. 18 Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” 22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the LORD. 24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today.” Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.
Digging Up Sin Is a Difficult Thing
I. Sin is More than Personal
One of the first things that strikes me when I read this story is how God considered the Israelites as a unit. When one sinned, God held the whole group accountable, even though the whole group had no way of knowing what had happened. First of all, God had about thirty men die in battle. Then God revealed to Joshua why they died and why the Israelites were routed when they fought the city of Ai. Someone had been unfaithful to Him by taking some of the items of Jericho that were supposed to be destroyed. Now, God could have just had Achan have a heart attack right on the spot when he was going to take the robe and the gold and the silver, but He didn’t. Why not? He wanted the whole Israelite community to take notice of what happens when you break the law. He also wanted them to take responsibility for one another’s actions.
When you are part of a family, you are supposed to look out after each other. That’s one of the blessings of having brothers and sisters. Big brothers are supposed to protect their sisters, and sisters can help to refine their brothers. That’s a part of what family is for and what big brothers are for!
When you join a congregation, you are vowing to be faithful to that community. It brings responsibility with it. If these are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are both on the same pathway to heaven, then we need to look after each other and pray for each other and fight temptation together. This is meant to be a big family here, an extension of your regular family. The strong need to help the weak. We need to care for each other. If we don’t they are very susceptible to fall quickly from the faith.
I think back to the Garden of Eden. A part of Satan’s tactic was to address Eve ONLY, even though Adam was right there as well. It is Satan’s design to split up the family, to turn us against each other instead of fighting FOR one another. If your spouse is spending money foolishly, then you should say something to him or her. Children sense weakness. When one parent is weak, it can hurt the family when he or she is used as leverage for sin. The problem with our churches and our families is that we don’t make the effort. Yes, don’t be nosy. Don’t snoop. But don’t put your head in the sand either. If it’s happening in your family or your church, then it is your problem. Speak up and condemn it. Don’t be so afraid of the backlash. If you need help, then get it.