by Steve Reeves
Joshua 7 begins with an ominous word—But. The first six chapters of Joshua describe victory after victory, but now Israel experiences defeat.
The disobedience of one man led to the defeat of Joshua’s troops. Joshua sent spies to Ai, who returned with the report that it would not be necessary to send the entire army to battle. But this time God was not with them. Thirty-six men were lost. This is the only defeat recorded in Joshua and the only report of Israelites slain in battle.
Joshua did not know that sin was in the camp. One of the soldiers, Achan, saw the riches of the city and decided to keep some for himself.
Disobedience impacts others.
No matter how secret a sin might be, others will be affected.
Disobedience will be uncovered.
The process of discovery continued until Achan was chosen. He confessed his sin, but only after he had been found out.
I heard of a husband who tried to sneak in at night. He looked into the bathroom mirror and bandaged his bruises. The next morning, there stood his wife: “You were drunk last night weren’t you?” “No, honey,” he said. “Then who put all the band-aids on the bathroom mirror?”
Trying to hide sin from God is as foolish as band-aids on a mirror. Numbers 32:23 says, “Be sure your sin will find you out.”
Disobedience has consequences.
One man’s sin turned God’s presence away from a whole people, but there was hope. When Hosea’s wife, Gomer, fell under God’s judgment, God made a direct reference to Achan’s death by stoning: “I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her . . . and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” (Hosea 2:14, 15). Achor is the place Achan was buried.
God has a way of turning a valley of trouble into a door of hope.
Steve Reeves is lead minister at Connection Pointe Christian Church in Brownsburg, Indiana. He and his wife Kristen have three grown children.