I’m going to tackle a very touchy subject that needs to be discussed. Before I begin, I confess that I myself have sinned and have seen the devastating effect that sin has on my own family and those around me. Sin can cause much grief, a loss of trust, bitterness, anxiety, displacement, and many other things. The point being, sin will cause an emotional upheaval that has physical ramifications in this world and spiritual ramifications in the next if there is no repentance and forgiveness. The story of Achan in the Book of Joshua shows the worst of what can happen to sinners when it causes many to suffer.
7 But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.
2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.” 4 So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, 5 and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And 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, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”
10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. 13 Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the Lord, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought nearby your tribes. And the tribe that the Lord takes by lot shall come nearby clans. And the clan that the Lord takes shall come nearby households. And the household that the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.’”
16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 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.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 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.”
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. 23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the Lord. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor (trouble). Joshua 7
What Can We Learn From This?
Sin Committed (v.20-21) The Course of Sin 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. ..
Achan was enticed by the riches in the plundering from a battle and took a portion which was not allowed. His desire for material things outweighed his obedience to the commands of God.
Sins come in many forms. Sin is disobedience of God’s Word. It is the choice of being disobedient from Adam and Eve that caused sin to enter the world. Disobedience leads to disappointment and possible disownment especially from those whom the sin is against.
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:15 (ESV)
Temptation (action or emotion not from God) is a hard thing to walk away from because of the many forms it comes in. We all have experienced temptation in one form or another more than once in our lives. Some temptations seem innocent until enticement increases then it becomes something that you can no longer remove yourself from. It becomes sin.
Sin Concealed (v.21) Covering of sin And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
Achan had no choice but to hide what he had stolen so that no one else would know but as we read above. God knew Achan’s sin and had already affected the lives of many in fact he caused the death of 36 men. He caused pain suffering and mourning because the loss trickled down to the most innocent; all because of one man’s disobedience.
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy Proverbs 28:13 (ESV)
Concealing sin is detrimental to one’s health. Not just the person but all those around whom the sin is against. In fact, concealed sin causes a person to act in ways that change the person outlook and some that notice will start asking questions. One thing is for sure, it is better to confess than to be found out.
Sin Unearthed (v.22) Confrontation So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath.
When uncovering sinfulness, it is best for the sinner to confess the sin before it is discovered. If another person had found the stuff that Achan hid, the resulting retribution may have been even more disastrous than it was. The effects of sin that are discovered before confession makes the resulting adverse actions worse for all involved both emotionally and physically.
But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23 (ESV)
Sins will be discovered. Sins against others, especially in marriages cannot stay hidden long and will be discovered or revealed in one way or another. When that happens it takes a long time for trust between partners to be regained, sometimes years, if ever.
Sin’s Retribution (v.25) Condemnation And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.
God’s retribution required Achan’s family to suffer along with him. This is an extreme example but I believe it gets the point across on the ramifications of sin. However, there is relief. Because of Jesus, our punishments have lessened in this life but some for cultures, the severity of the sin still requires physical death without chance for repentance.
For it is because of these things that God’s anger is coming on those who disobey him. Colossians 3:6 (ESV)
We are living in a time where good is evil and evil is good. The earth is trembling due to our disobedience. Every soul, whether faithful or not, will suffer during this time because the faithful have not truly stood up. Society calls it progress. How can it be progress when certain things go against nature?
For ourselves when we sin, we must confess, repent, ask forgiveness, and accept the ramifications that come from how the sin effected others. It may take a while for forgiveness and some may never forgive but we still must get our hearts right with God.
If we do not follow the Great Commission and live a right life the best we can, God’s wrath is going to be devastating even before the Great Judgement. We will see good friends who we did not open the floor of discussing God, suffer and die because they know Him not. What about all those who are openly sinning because the new moral majority are actually the immoral foolish ones. Are we not just as guilty if we do not try to save even one.