Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Joshua 7:1 (NIV)
But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.
Joshua 7:1 (MSG)
Then the People of Israel violated the holy curse. Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah, took some of the cursed things. God became angry with the People of Israel.
“But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully and violated their obligation in regard to the things [off limits] under the ban [those things belonging to the Lord], for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban [for personal gain]. Therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the Israelites.” -AMPLIFIED
Yesterday we started looking at how the sin of Achan affected the whole of the people of Israel. Today we will continue with his story within God’s story.
Remember that the people had been warned to take nothing from the city of Jericho as plunder; for everything was to be dedicated to the Lord God. Achan had a wandering covetous eye though and saw a few items that tantalized him. He took them and hid them within his tent thinking that no one had seen him do it so he was safe. Just remember this; we can be sure that our sin will find us out. The All-seeing, All-knowing God is always on the job. What Achan did in secret would soon be public knowledge. Achan’s sin affects the whole nation of Israel.
When the warriors were defeated at Ai they knew something was wrong. Joshua and the leaders tore their robes and fell into the dirt putting dust on their heads in mourning. They remained in this position until evening time situated right in front of the Ark of the Covenant.
Then we find Joshua crying out to God. “Why, Eternal One, our Lord? Why have you brought us across the Jordan if only to let the Amorites destroy us? It would have been better for us to settle on the other side of the Jordan! Lord, how am I going to explain that our fighting men have had to run for their lives? The people of Canaan, all the inhabitants of this land, will hear that we have been defeated. They’ll surround us and destroy us as a people forever, and then how will the world remember Your great name?” -Joshua 7:7-9 (VOICE)
God’s reply to Joshua was this, “Get up. What are you doing in the dirt? There’s a simple explanation: Israel has sinned. They have lied and have violated the covenant I gave them by stealing some of the property that should have been destroyed along with the rest of Jericho and by hiding it among their own belongings.” -Joshua 7:10-11 (VOICE)
God continues to give Joshua directives on how to handle the situation. No, God did not pinpoint Achan from the start. Instead, God gave him ample time to repent and make amends, but he did not. The next morning the tribes passed before Joshua one-by-one and God told him which tribe the guilty one was. Next it went clan-by-clan; again God pointed out the guilty clan. Then it was family-by-family and then individual-by-individual. The guilty person was finally found; it was Achan.
By this point in time there was no hiding his guilt. The All-Seeing God had found Achan in the midst of the millions of people. Achan knew there was no denying his sin. He acknowledges, “It’s true. I am the one who broke the commandment of the Eternal God of Israel. Among the spoils of the city, I found a beautiful Babylonian robe, 5 pounds of silver, and 20 ounces of gold. When I saw them, I wanted them and I took them. They are buried now in the ground inside my tent with the silver at the very bottom of the hole.” -Joshua 7:20-21 (VOICE)
The consequences of Achan’s sin were harsh, but it would instill the need for obedience from this point forward. God said, “With the person selected by lot, you will burn him and all his belongings, including his family and his livestock, with fire as a punishment for breaking the covenant with the Eternal and for bringing dishonor upon Israel.” -Joshua 7:15 (VOICE)
Joshua’s men went to investigate and found the items exactly where Achan said they would be. The men carried the items back to Joshua and displayed them in front of ALL the people of Israel, and then they offered them up to God. Then Joshua and all the people of Israel led Achan, his family, his livestock and took all his possessions to the valley of Achor. There they were stoned to death and they and everything they had owned was set on fire. “Afterward they erected a pile of stones over Achan that still stands today. When all of this was done, the Eternal put away His anger; so to this day that place is called the valley of Achor, which means “trouble.” -Joshua 7:26 (VOICE)
Once again we find a memorial built in the new land. Whereas the other two were positive, this one was negative. The people heaped up a large pile of stones over Achan and his family; a reminder to them all of the need for complete obedience to the Lord their God. Achan’s memory continues to live on, but sadly it is a reminder to us all of what happens to one when they do not follow the Word of the Lord.
Achan will forever be remembered for his sin. What will you be remembered for?
Lord, I want to be remembered as a child of the Most High God. I want others to point to the fact that I was a lover of Jesus and His Light shone bright from me. I want others to remember to see how You have changed me and made me into something new. May I be remembered as your servant; willing to do what you have called me to do with a humble heart. Let Achan’s story be a constant reminder to me that obedience is the only way. God have your way with me.