Scripture Reading: Joshua 7:1-15
“But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.” (Joshua 7:1)
Sin has serious consequences. Sometimes the sin of an individual can have an affect on others — families, churches, and even nations. This is the case with our passage today. God gave specific instructions to the Israelites prior to the fall of Jericho — “And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction…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. But all silver and gold and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord” (6:17-19). The spoils of the first defeated city were devoted to the Lord. It is the principle that the first and the best belongs to Him. The spoils taken from the city were to go into the treasury of the Lord.
Achan however disobeyed God’s orders and took some of the things under the ban. It was a “secret sin,” in that no one else kew about it. As a result the Lord’s anger burned against the sons of Israel. The city of Ai was an easy target because it was not well fortified. But the men Joshua sent to capture the city were defeated and thirty six of them were killed (vs. 4,5). Joshua was devastated — “Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads” (v. 6). Joshua asked the Lord why his soldiers were defeated (vs. 7-9). God answered, “Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have stolen and lied and put them among their belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies…” (vs. 11,12).
One man’s sin brought devastating consequences on the people of God. I have seen it too often — a family devastated by the sinful actions of one family member, churches divided because of the sinful actions of a few individuals. Sin always has consequences. Sometimes there is a ripple effect to sin — it begins with one but then affects others as its consequences spread. Sin in the camp led to the loss of God’s blessing. Achan’s sin brought trouble on the people and devastated their leaders.
Lord God, please let me take sin seriously. I know that sin has consequences. Thank You that You are a gracious God who forgives us when we confess our sins and repent. Arm me for my battle with the sinful desires I have and enable me to resist temptations when they come my way.
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