Joshua 7:16-26

The Sin of Achan

16 So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by [i]tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I implore you, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me.” 20 So Achan answered Joshua and said, “Truly, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and [j]this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.”

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was concealed in his tent with the silver underneath it. 23 They took them from inside the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the sons of Israel, and they poured them out before the Lord. 24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his [k]oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of [l]Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned [m]them with stones; and they burned them with fire [n]after they had stoned them with stones. 26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of [o]Achor to this day.

The punishment seems a bit harsh until one remembers that Achan’s sin caused the death of 36 men in the previous battle. While it is a bit difficult to tell for sure, it almost seems as if Achan realized the magnitude of what he had done, and submitted willingly to the punishment (though it was to be his death).

Indeed, his only hope was to repent and turn back to God before his physical death. In that way, he might avoid a worse fate, that of eternal punishment, death, and separation from God. We ought not to forget the eternal consequences of our sin. While the repercussions on this earth might be surprising, even shocking, the repercussions in eternity are the most important. Sin separates us from God, and without repentance, there is no cure.

God offers the cure, but we must turn from our disobedience, and accept His life, His will, and His gift in order to be made right with God for all eternity. To take part in something we can’t even imagine, that will make this physical life seem but a shadow.

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