Achan…took of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel. Joshua 7:1 (NKJV)
Joshua Chapter 7 is an interesting episode in Israel’s early history. In context, they had come through forty years of wandering in the wilderness and were now engaged in the conquest of the Promised Land. City after city fell to them, including Jericho. And it was there that God commanded the Israelites not to touch or take any of the spoils.
But someone did. A man named Achan decided to make off with a few things. It wasn’t much—a fine piece of clothing, a few bits of silver, and a wedge of gold. He figured nobody would miss or notice these things. But God did. It angered Him, and it brought Israel’s conquest to a screeching halt.
The next city in line was Ai, which was relatively small in comparison to the others they had conquered. But because of Achan’s secret sin, God removed His protective hand from Israel, and thirty-six of her soldiers were killed when they tried to attack (Joshua 7:5).
The rest of the chapter describes how God reveals to Joshua what had happened, and how Achan was confronted and punished for his actions. But the point we can’t miss is that Achan’s sin affected innocent people around him—people who knew nothing about what he had done! An entire nation was rendered powerless, and thirty-six men lost their lives.
We need to keep this in mind when it comes to sin: Its effect is never limited to those who actually commit it. The husband or father who is secretly into pornography is also hurting his family. The employee who steals from the register is harming his co-workers in the long run. And the alcoholic doesn’t just destroy herself but breaks the heart of those who love her as well.
Sin hurts innocent people, which is something we would do well to remember when we find ourselves tempted as Achan was.
Think About It…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)
Consistency breeds security. If you're an employer, you take comfort in knowing that you have consistent employees working for you. If your car needs to be fixed, you're going to take it to a mechanic who has consistently performed well. And if you're a coach, you'll probably draw up a play at the end of a tight game that puts the ball in the hands of your best and most consistent player.