Here we find the nation of Israel, who’s led by Joshua, has just seized the city Jericho by God’s miraculous providence. Marching around the city seven times with a shout the walls turned into dust before the Israelites and all the spoils of war that goes along with it. Victory would soon be turned into gloom as Israel would go up against Ai. The land was spied out as any strategic general would do. The report received was accepted with confidence by the spies but was inaccurate. Ai had more men than reported and Joshua underestimated his enemy. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We fail as believers in recognizing the power of our enemy, as a result we suffer the consequences in spiritual defeat.
Now we get to the core behind what transpired. God visits Joshua and explains the reason behind the defeat and the need to take action. The covenant was violated, a smack in the face to God, the spoils of war which was meant for destruction, taken and hidden. Oh how we may fool others into believing who we are not but we can’t deceive the one who knows the very hairs on our head (Heb.4:13). Considering the vast number of soldiers Joshua possessed, only one would fall prey to his internal greed. So this one mans sin affected the entire nation of Israel. Sin has a devastating effect on the spiritual nature of man. It corrupts the body, poisons the mind, infects the people around us like a cancer. The mass hunt was on and soon Achan would be approached and confronted.
Let’s considered the items that were taken and harbored. A beautiful robe from Babylonia, 200 shekels of silver and 50 shekels of Gold or as I would like to put it, Money, Sex, and Power! Silver (Money) was used as currency in exchange for product in ancient times and the more one had the greater the item acquired. The exquisite rope (Sex), which would be worn to make ones appearance abstract, enticing or alluring to the opposite sex. And Gold (Power) which brought a weighty presence if obtained had the power to rule over people, places and things. Is it truly worth ones soul if we gain the whole world and lose our eternal relationship with God? Why do we feel the need to hold on to things that have an expiration date?
Money exists so that it will be plain by the way we use it that God is more to be desired than money. Sex exists so that it will be plain that God is more to be desired than sex. And power exists so that it will be plain that admiring and depending on his power is more to be desired than exalting our own.
His name meant one who troubles and he will forever be remembered as such. How will this world remember your name? The pile of stones laid on top of his grave was a sign for infamous individuals who met their demise ( Joshua 8:29). I don’t know about you but instead of stones I want a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:14), instead of possessions I want purpose (Rom. 8:28), instead of defeat I want to walk in victory over my circumstances (1 John 5:4-5). We can all learn a valuable lesson from the sin of Achan and choose not to hide our deep-rooted sins but allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into a life that’s lived out through faith.