“And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the LordGod of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the Lord. And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.”
What a sad event! In this passage, a man named Achan took some things from previous battles that God had said to leave alone. He hid the loot and went on like nothing had happened. Yet, God would not let the people go forward as long as sin was in the camp.
Therefore, the whole nation lost the next battle and Joshua stoned and burned Achan, his family, and his possessions. It seemed harsh, but God made Achan an example to Israel of what would happen if they were disobedient.
The point for us is not that God will stone us if we are disobedient. No! The point for us is how the actions of one man affected everyone around him.
May we always know the grace of Christ when we fall, and just as important, may we not take advantage of His grace at the expense of others. Our sin causes damage around us. So, instead of always leaning on God’s mercy and forgiveness as a free pass, we must desire and strive for holiness to reduce the poisonous wake of our poor choices. Our desire should be to not have to ask for forgiveness.
A family I know has recently had to close their business because of the marred reputation of their father. Families are hurt by lies. Kids are hurt by adultery. Parents are hurt by kids’ choices. Churches are hurt by gossip or fighting.
Can you imagine Achan’s son or daughter looking up at him, asking, “Daddy, why are these people holding rocks, and why are they mad at us?” What could he reply?
Johnny Cash sings a song titled, “Hurt” that is attached to this devotion. I know it is a secular song, but listen to how it encapsulates the regret and pain that Achan might have felt in that moment.
God, forgive us when we sin, but just as importantly, help us run from sin for the sake of those we love.
- Have you ever suffered the consequences of someone else’s sin?
- Can you think of a time when your sin affected those around you?
- What were the results of each of these instances? How would have the avoidance of sin been better than simply forgiveness for the sin?