ACHAN’S SIN – JOSHUA 7:1-15
[a] The event of our Scripture reading takes place in a time when the Children of Israel were on a 'high'!
[b] They had just conquered Jericho - They'd done nothing but march around it and blow their trumpets, the walls fell down and victory was theirs - as simple as that!
[c] Nothing seemed impossible to them - NOTHING COULD GO WRONG - THEY THOUGHT! HOW WRONG THEY WERE!!
(a) Onlookers may think someone is the greatest saint who ever lived, but let us never forget, "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart."
(b) In Joshua 7 we read about the sin of Achan. God had commanded that NO SPOIL, was to be taken from Jericho, when it was captured! ALL of the loot was to be destroyed!
(c) Achan disobeyed God, and hid his takings in his tent thinking no-one would be any the wiser. It was some clothes, and some silver, and gold!
(d) But what happened? THE BLESSING OF GOD DEPARTED FROM THE WHOLE NATION OF ISRAEL!
(e) They went to battle, and suffered humiliating defeat! Because the blessing of God was no longer upon them!
BECAUSE OF THE SIN AND HYPOCRISY OF ONE MAN, THE WHOLE NATION OF ISRAEL WAS AFFECTED ADVERSELY!
(f) WHOLE CORPS have been affected, and lost God's blessing, because of ONE PERSON, and those who blindly follow them!
[a] Spies were sent out to view Ai.
The spies said, "Piece of cake! Just send up a token army." They might even have said, "Tie one arm behind their back, and pack them nice picnic baskets! How can we lose - God is with us! We've just brought down Jericho after all! No sweat!! A couple of thousand men - more than enough!"
[b] But the small army of 3,000, was routed! In Joshua 7:5, we find that about 36 of the Israelites had been killed - hardly a major catastrophe out of a nation of a million and a half!
[c] But they weren't used being beaten! Their pride was hurt and their confidence just evaporated! "We're finished!" they said!
[d] REMEMBER, THESE WERE THE PEOPLE WHO HAD JUST CONQUERED JERICHO!
[e] The funny thing is, it's GOD Who is getting the blame - Joshua is asking in verse 7, "Ah Sovereign Lord, why did You ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us?"
[f] The Lord thundered His reply and it was simply "THERE IS SIN AMONG YOU!" THAT WAS WHAT HAD CHANGED VICTORY INTO DEFEAT!!
[g] Was this a whole nation that was sinning? Not at all!! One man's sin was responsible for the blessing and power of God being removed from the nation!
"No man is an island" (John Donne)
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a Clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the less."
[h] It is so easy to imagine that our actions affect no-one but ourselves – but nothing could be further from the truth! We are part of the whole - and what we do affects everyone else!
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." (1 Corinthians 5:6)
[i] Many were the men I spoke to in Peterhead prison, who told me how their sin had adversely affected their families.
Often the families of child molesters had been driven from their homes and areas.
[a] Israel had to deal with the problem.
[b] Often in Corps, we want to brush it under the carpet - hide it under the tent - when it must be dealt with - if God's blessing is to return.
[c] DOING WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE GOOD OF GOD'S KINGDOM, IS NOT USUALLY POPULAR - EVERYBODY ALWAYS KNOWS A BETTER WAY!
[d] If we become aware of ‘sin in the camp’ as it were, and do nothing about it, by helping to hide it, we become a part of that sin, as undoubtedly Achan’s family did, and they therefore came under the same judgement.
[e] So often down through the years, it would have been so convenient just to brush things under the carpet.
[f] In so many of our corps, we have had stalwarts who have literally kept things going for years.
One such person was Joe. His willingness, and his energy was boundless. Everyone in that small town knew Joe, the Army man. He literally had kept the corps financed – after all, when he did it – others didn’t have to bother.
One weekend, I had to be elsewhere, and Joe was doing the pubs on his own. My son met him, as he staggered against the wall, and said, "Heyo Shteeven!" He was off to do pubs, and he was drunk as a lord!
No matter how much it hurt – financially or otherwise – it was sin in the camp, and had to be dealt with.
[a] Sin attracts!
For a man in the east his wealth was often displayed in his fine and elaborate clothes.
[b] You'll remember Jesus spoke of the rich man in Luke 16:19, as "clothed in purple and fine linen." It was a sign of affluence!
[c] Achan wanted to look good (v21) - Oh the sin and vanity that can come with wanting to 'look good'. It might be a new (very expensive) coat or suit, or maybe an exorbitant 'nose job', or some other kind of job??!
[d] Achan saw a beautiful Babylonian garment. Maybe he felt he’d worked hard enough to deserve it – you know the kind of excuse someone makes when they want to steal something out of work! It’s still stealing in the eyes of a holy God!
[d] Unlike Peter in the Acts of the Apostles, Achan could not say, "Silver and gold have I none." For he had stolen both out of Jericho, against the express command of God.
[e] He had HIDDEN THEM! Sin is never hidden as far as God is concerned - for no matter how much we hide it, we are transparent to His gaze. "I the Lord search the heart."
[a] There was only one thing Israel could do! This was in the days before sin’s price had been paid on Calvary’s cross!
Therefore Achan and his family came to a very sticky end, by being stoned to death. They were annihilated with every possession they had!
[b] SIN'S PRICE HAD TO BE PAID BY THE SINNER! AND HOW TERRIBLE WAS THAT PRICE!
[c] Your sin's price, and mine, must be paid! There's a price on your head!! Listen to this verse,
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4)
[d] If it ended there, it would be but a message of doom and gloom that I preach tonight – for there would be no hope!
Thanks be to God, He has not left us to the fate we deserve.
"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
[e] LIKE Achan we have sinned, secretly or otherwise, UNLIKE Achan, we do not have to pay the penalty of that sin ourselves.
[f] Achan found out to his cost, and that of his family, that "THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH."
[g] But, thanks be to God, there is One Who died in our place, bearing our penalty! 1 Peter 2:24 tells us that He "...bare our sins in His Own body on the tree."
[h] There is not one of us who is guiltless! Ecc. 7:20 tells us, "There is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not."
[i] Not only are we all "Jock Thomson's bairns" BUT WE ALSO BEAR THE FAMILY LIKENESS!
WE ARE EVERY ONE A SINNER. AND BECAUSE OF THAT, WE NEED THE SAVIOUR.
He offers to all who come to him, in true repentance, free and prepaid forgiveness!
[j] BEFORE ISRAEL COULD BE FREED FROM THE CURSE OF ACHAN'S SIN, HE HAD TO OWN UP TO IT, AND REPENT!
[k] Before you or I can be forgiven and our guilt blotted out, we must own up to that sin, and with true sorrow and regret, come to the Saviour and seek mercy and pardon!
[l] Jesus says, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out."