But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury. Joshua 6:18-19
I have to wonder if Achan was asleep when God issued this order. Surely he didn’t just defy a direct command from God? Could it be he was outside the camp feeding the camels or that he arrived to the battle late because he over slept? Even still, did no one tell him what Joshua declared as a command of God or did he simply defy a direct declaration from God?
There is something inside of me that wants to give Achan the benefit of the doubt, but clearly his decision to take those items devoted to God didn’t happen by accident or because he missed the memo – he deliberately defied the command of God. And the result of his actions had a terrific ripple effect throughout a nation.
Now before we jump on Achan and smear his name for his actions, might we take a gander at our own actions and attitudes first? Truth is there is a little Achan in all of us. There is a small part of us that thinks the rules don’t apply to us. There is a tiny belief that we’re special and God will let us slip by because of His grace. There is that small part in us that just doesn’t quite believe that our disobedience to God’s Word is really that significant. There is a small part of us that thinks no one will notice the sin we are harboring and that it is not really that big a deal. We think what we are doing isn’t hurting anyone and that it is no big deal in our own lives. BUT IT IS A BIG DEAL. All sin is a big deal to a holy God who desires holiness for His people and intimacy with His people. Consider the words of the apostle Peter:
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-15
I wonder what kinds of things each of us might be harboring in our lives today that are hurting ourselves and others. I wonder what things we have tapped as insignificant that are significantly impacting our relationship with God and others. As we discover in the story of Achan, God doesn’t miss anything. And in His jealousy for intimacy and holiness, He will not tolerate our rebellion but will work to uphold righteousness for our sake and for His glory.
Take record today and consider your thoughts and actions. And should you have stumbled, then follow the prescription set forth in 1 John:
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9