Summary of the Story
GOD commanded the Israelites to destroy Jericho; and all the gold, silver, and other riches found there were to be devoted to the Lord. If any disobeyed this command then a curse was to rest upon all, and they were not to prosper.
The Israelites, were to conquer the Canaanites, and drive them out of the land. So Joshua prepared to attack a city named Ai. Three thousand of his men went to capture it, but the inhabitants came out and drove them back, killing some of them. Joshua was greatly grieved. He knew that unless God made the Israelites victorious, the Canaanites would be able to overcome them, and God had appeared to fail them this time. Oh! he was sorry. But he told God the trouble, and God showed him the cause of it.
One of the Israelites, named Achan, saw among the spoils of Jericho, a handsome garment, some silver, and a bar of gold, and coveted them. He stole these things and hid them away in his tent, thinking that no one saw him; but God knew it all. Achan’s sin was the cause of Israel’s defeat!
God showed Joshua how the man who had done the wickedness was to be discovered. Each tribe was to be brought before God, then each family of the tribe He chose, then each household of the family taken, and lastly each man of the family chosen. Finally, Achan was pointed out by God. Joshua bade him confess what he had done, and he said that he had taken the Babylonish garment and the gold and silver.
Messengers were sent to his tent, who brought what Achan had hidden; and he, with his sons and daughters, his cattle, and all that he had, and the garment, silver, and gold, were taken to a valley near by, where the people stoned them, and burned them with fire; and then raised over all a great heap of stones, which remained as a memorial to warn others against sinning as Achan had done. (gospelweb)
Key Scriptures: Joshua Chapter 6&7
The story of Achan is very relevant to our lives as believers because we can be easily be distracted by the things of this world.
There are 3 things I picked up from the story of Achan in Joshua.
1. I wanted them so much that I took them.(Desires -Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound. I wanted them so much that I took them. They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.” Joshua 7:21 NLT)
Even though the Lord warned the Israelites not to take anything from the war, Achan being so materialistic did not take heed to this instruction and let his desire for perishable, worldly things defy God’s authority. Sometimes we can be like him, our desires for worldly things and our covetousness can lead us to defying God’s commands. Have a self assessment of yourself – what do I desire most? Are my desires God centred or world centred?
2.They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest. (Our hearts –So Joshua sent some men to make a search. They ran to the tent and found the stolen goods hidden there, just as Achan had said, with the silver buried beneath the rest. Joshua 7:22 NLT)
What we treasure most in our hearts determines where our desires truly lies. Because those things were dear to Achan, he kept them deep in the ground of his tent and the silver even deeper. We can sometimes treasure the things of this world deep in our hearts rather than making God the ultimate treasure in our lives. Assess yourself – what do I treasure most in the depth of my heart? Who or what am I willing to sacrifice my life for even if everything should be taken away from me?
3.And all the Israelites stoned Achan and his family and burned their bodies (Judgement – Then Joshua and all the Israelites took Achan, the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, tent, and everything he had, and they brought them to the valley of Achor. Joshua 7:24 NLT)
Achan’s sin did not only affect Him but also affected the whole nation of Israel (who were defeated by Ai) and Achan’s entire family were stoned to death. Sometimes our sinful acts can bring punishment and suffering upon others also. Let’s reconsider our actions before we undertake them; whether it will bring glory to God and be of benefit to others, or whether it will bring suffering, pain and sorrow to us and unto others.