Israel Is Defeated at Ai
7 But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel.
2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “[a]Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up [b]to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.” 4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled [c]from the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them [d]from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.
6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. 7 Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord [e]God, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing [f]to dwell beyond the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their [g]back before their enemies? 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?”
10 So the Lord said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. 12 Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their [h]backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst. 13 Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the Lord, the God of Israel, has said, “There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.” 14 In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which the Lord takes shall come near by households, and the household which the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15 It shall be that the one who is taken with the things under the ban shall be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”
Notably, God doesn’t strike the guilty party dead, and even allows the consequences to be played out so that Joshua and the Israelites turn to Him for answers.
While this sin would end in physical death, that isn’t always the case. But there are consequences when we sin. Even when we think we’ve gotten away with something, somehow the rules of the universe (which God created, thus being His rules) come back upon us.
Don’t think you can “enjoy” some small sin because it won’t affect anyone else. Sin always has consequences, and they often affect those we care about the most. Sin is never worthwhile, just ask Achan…