“But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it.” – Joshua 6:18 (ESV)
I read through Joshua 6 and 7 this morning and thought for a bit about what happened here and the story of Achan. The Israelites have just finished their conquest of Jericho and Joshua reminded them not to gather up any of the “things devoted to destruction”. In other words, no looting. Not sure what was going through Achan’s mind at that point, but Joshua’s words go in one ear and out the other. He decides to grab an expensive cloak and stuff some other things in his pocket like gold and silver. Achan’s clear disobedience angers God and directly causes their defeat at Ai a short time later. Joshua then calls Achan to appear before everyone, and Achan confesses. Achan is then stoned to death for his crime.
This passage reminded me of some verses I read recently in both the Old and New Testaments – Numbers 32:23 “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” and Romans 6:21 “But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” Although it doesn’t seem like Achan had much time to reflect on what he had done, I wonder if he would have been able to answer a simple question – was it really worth it ? To put family members and fellow countrymen to shame and subject them to punishment like that ? For a coat and some extra money in his pocket ?
This is a good warning for us as well. We don’t sin in a vacuum. We can think we’re slick and can cover up those things that we shouldn’t be doing. But God never turns a blind eye to it. Our sin will always find us out.