Israel just had a great victory over the city of Jericho. God promised them the victory (Joshua 6:2) and all they had to do was trust and obey the Lord. The Lord told them to have all the men of war go around the city once for six days. On the seventh day, they were to have seven priest go before the ark of the Lord with seven trumpets of ram’s horns and go around the city seven times and the priest are to blow the trumpets. Then the priest are to make a long blast with the trumpets and all the people are to shout with a great shout and the walls will come down. They obey the Lord and the walls came down and they took the city.
When they shouted and took the city everything in the city was accursed. The children of Israel were commanded to “keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourself accursed.” The only thing that was was consider to be consecrated to the Lord was all the silver, gold, vessels of brass, and iron.
So what do you think happens? Of course, there is always someone in the group that doesn’t want to listen or thinks he can get away with something. So there is a guy named Achan and he coveted and stole for himself that which was accursed and buried it under his tent (Babylonish garments, shekels of silver and gold).
So what is the big deal? He just took some clothes and money from a city they were destroying right? Not exactly. See he was clearly commanded by the Lord not to take anything, it was all accursed and for him to take it was directly disobeying God and making himself accursed. Joshua upon confronting him told him to make confession unto the Lord and Achan confessed and said “I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel.” He knew he was doing wrong and he knew it was against the Lord. When you and I sin, we need to realize that we are sinning against God. Yes, it may affect someone else, for Joshua also said, “tell me now what thou hast done, hide it not from me” because Achan sin brought God’s wrath upon Israel as a whole. But sin is ultimately against God.
I think we can look at this story and learn about sin and the effects of sin.
- Sin is First & Foremost Against God! – Achan disobeyed God and the clear command that was given. His confession shows us this, “I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel.” (Joshua 7:11; Psalm 51:4)
- Sin is Against Others – Not only was it against God but Achan disobey and sinned against Joshua the leader and the rest of Israel whom his sin would affect.
- Sin Hurts Those Around You – After the victory of Jericho, they went to fight against Ai only sending a few thousand men because the battle should of been won easily, but since there was sin in the camp, the Lord wasn’t there to help them and 36 men died because of Achan’s sin and they fled loosing the battle. Also, Achan’s family died having to face the same consequences he did.
- Sin Brings God’s Wrath Not Blessings – Israel was now in a helpless state. They could no longer go out and fight a battle for the Lord said “O Israel: though canst not stand before thine enemies until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.” (Joshua 7:13)
- Sin Brings Personal Consequences – You might not think taking some clothes and money is that serious, but when you realize you sinned against God, it becomes very serious. Achan had to pay the consequences for his sin and after his confession he was stoned with stones and burnt with fire. Not only him, but his family and all that he hath. (Joshua 7:24-25) – Ultimately, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)
After Achan was caught and payed the consequences of his sin, “the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger” and the blessings of the Lord returned and they went on to be victorious in their defeat of Ai.
Is their sin in your life? Is your life and the lives of those around you being effected because of unconfessed sin? Know that as Christians we have an Advocate with the Father and we can humbly come to Him at any time. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
If you are not a Christian, then you are still in your sins. But God made a way for your sins to be forgiven, through the blood shed of His son, Jesus Christ. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). It is time to repent of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ!