Joshua & Achan/Ai — One man’s sin affects many innocent people.
Reading 2: Joshua 8
Reading 3: Joshua 22:20
Remember how all the Israelites honored Joshua’s leadership and obeyed God’s instructions through him? Well there was one who did not. It is Achan’s story we learn from today.
There was a reason why God told Israel to invade the land and destroy the people in it: these peoples had no place in their lives for God, and no desire to follow Him. Israel, by contrast, were called to both follow and obey. Just as there is no compromising with cancer cells in an otherwise healthy body, and no compromising with a deadly infection like Ebola, so there was no room for compromise in dealing with the ungodly nations in the land.
But Achan was tempted by valuable goods he found during the destruction of Jericho, and he sinned in several ways: he kept what God had instructed them to destroy, he hid what he had kept, and he only admitted his sin when he was found out. All these sins brought a high price on his family, because the wages of sin is death.
Presumably his family knew about the deception; it is impossible to bury valuable items in a tent without the occupants of that tent knowing about it! Thus they were implicated in the sin along with him
Unfortunately many innocent people were also affected by the sin: the army went to attack Ai but did not realize that sin in the camp was causing God to withdraw from them. Without God’s presence there was no way for them to win their battles, and so 36 innocent soldiers died.
It is a deception of the enemy to convince us that we can ignore God’s instructions without penalty. Such presumption no longer results in instant death, thanks to the grace of God in Jesus, but it can still have far-reaching effects in the lives of those we love, and leave us tainted by the whiff of disobedience.
So let’s agree with God today – disobedience is sin, and so are deception, covetousness, and greed. Thank God that there is forgiveness in Jesus, because every one of us needs it!
Have a great day!