Achan and Me

Today’s Readings: Joshua 7 and Proverbs 7 

Good Morning, it’s Monday again and I’m looking forward to sharing the word with you today! For many of us, this Monday marks a sort of new beginning. Although the first day of January has past, there are still lots of “fresh starts” on the horizon. At our house, it’s back to school for our kids, the start of new activities like swim team and back to regularly scheduled work for me. As I read through our scripture today, I couldn’t help but really identify with our Israelite friend Achan. This new generation of Israelites are really committed to following God’s will. After conquering Jericho, they move on to the tiny town of Ai. Joshua relies on the strength of his army to defeat the small city and instead in driven out. Only after this defeat does he turn to God in despair and ask for guidance. Enter…Achan. The poor guy has to come forward and confess in front of the whole nation of Israelites that he gave in to temptation.

Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” Joshua 7:19-21

 First of all, way to go Achan! How difficult it must have been for him to stand before his people that are so very disappointed in him and tell the whole truth. Achan’s sin was not merely keeping some of the treasure, but disobeying God’s explicit command to destroy everything related to Jericho. He underestimated God. He didn’t think that taking these seemingly small things would have far reaching consequences. It’s easy to judge him from our point of view. Looking back on the last few chapters of Joshua you sort of just want to call out to him and say, “Achan…it’s not worth it!” But aren’t we just the same? Don’t we often justify our sins by telling ourselves they are too small or too personal to truly hurt anyone but ourselves? Although Achan’s sin represents only one man’s failure to follow God’s word, it brought judgement on the entire nation. God wants us to turn away from the desire for personal gain and turn toward a life of spiritual obedience to Him. When we do that, we are blessed with His encouragement, His guidance and His promise of victory.

Of course, because God wants to reinforce his message and show us that he is near, His words for us in Proverbs 7 echo those of Joshua 7:

My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 7:1-3

 Lord, help us to treasure your commandments and live them with joy this week!