About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Achan's Sin (ch. 7:1
The main character in this chapter concerns a man named
Achan. The name "Achan"
means trouble. He causes Israel
lots of trouble. When it
comes to Hebrew names it's somewhat debatable what came first, the name
with it's meaning, or, the name became to have a meaning.
For example, "Achan" means "trouble", but at
what point did "trouble" become associated with "Achan".
Some say that because of Achan causing "trouble" for Israel, his name became associated with trouble.
Others say that "trouble" was always associated with
Liberal theologians point out the second view in their
defense that the Old Testament is a bunch of made up stories.
All the Hebrew names of the Old Testament have meanings that fit
the person and the situation they find themselves in.
This is way too much of a coincident to be historical fact, the
A lesson to be learned from this chapter is that when we as
Christians have just won a victory, we are weak and capable of falling.
Judah's wife was Tammar, seen in Genesis 38.
Tammar had an affair and had babies.
Achan is a product of that adulterous relationship.
In verse 1 we see once again, and I do mean again, the
anger of the Lord burning against Israel. If you study Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, you will see
over and over again that
It is important to note that the Lord was angry at all of Israel
even though one man sinned. This
may not seen fair to many of us, but the holiness of God demands
perfection. If one sins, all
sin, in the eyes of God. If
we can understand this, which is hard for many to understand, then we
will appreciate what Jesus did on the cross for us more than we ever
have before. All have
sinned. All are unholy.
God's anger towards us is appeased because of what Jesus did for
us, that is, only if we accept the provision that Jesus made for us –
the sacrifice of His life.
In verse 2 we note that Joshua sends two men out again, as
he did earlier. This time
the two men were to spy out the
In verse 3 the two men came back with their report.
Ai would be easy to defeat. They
suggest Joshua only send two or three thousand men.
Joshua listened to the men and did just that.
What should have been an easy victory for Israel
became a defeat. Thirty six
Israelis were killed and Israel
retreated. The text states
that the Israeli's hearts melted like water.
Just as the people of
We see Joshua's response to this loss in verse 6.
He, and the elders of Israel
fell face firs to the ground, tore their clothes, and covered their head
with dust. These are all
gestures of remorse, disgust, and sorrow.
Joshua was full of sorrow for their defeat, but as yet, he does
not know why they lost this battle.
He himself had done nothing wrong.
I don't believe he knew of Achan's sin. The text makes that
clear. He was simply full of
sorrow for the loss.
In verse 7 Joshua expresses the sentiment that his
ancestors had throughout their wondering in the desert.
He basically said that it would have been better to stay on the
east side of the
In verse 8 Joshua pleads with the Lord as Moses did
earlier. He uses the same
approach. He says that
because of this defeat Israel
will look bad among the surrounding nations, and worst still, the name
of the Lord will look bad among the nations of the world.
Like Moses, Joshua knew how important God's good name is to Him.
As you read and study the Old Testament, you will see over and
over again that all that God does for
In verse 10 the Lord tells Joshua to stand up.
He even asks why he has fell prostrate.
Of course Joshua was pleading with the Lord and falling prostrate
was the normal way to do this. That
being said, falling prostrate in the Old Testament, and really, it
should be today, was also an act of true repentance.
Joshua had not done anything personally to repent of.
God is now about to clarify the situation for Joshua.
In verse 11 God says, "
Notice the word "covenant" in verse 11.
The word "oath" is also used in other verses.
In verse 12 God tells Joshua that He will not be with
What we see in verse 13 is extremely important.
God tells Israel
that they cannot stand against their enemies until the one who is
devoted to evil is removed. Just
one person will cause Israel
to fall. I dare say, that
even in this age of grace, the church needs to pay attention to these
words. I have always said
that the church is as strong as its weakest member.
That does not make us very strong.
The word consecrate in verse 13 means to "set
In verses 14 and 15 God explains to Joshua how He would
find who was devoted to evil. All
the tribes would gather. One
by one, each tribe would step forward.
God would choose the tribe with the evil man in.
Then each family in the tribe would step forward.
God would choose the family with the evil man.
Then God would point out the evil man.
He and all of his things must be burned with fire.
The question is always asked, "how did God actually do
the choosing"? Many
scholars feel this was done by some kind of lottery system.
We don't know for sure, because the text doesn't say how the
tribe and the family was chosen and discovered.
The text only says that the Lord was the one doing the searching
In verses 16 through 18 Israel
did as God commanded. Achan
was discovered to be the culprit. He
was of the tribe of Judah. He was in the tribe that
Jesus was born into. Jesus
ancestors had some pretty sinful people in them.
Verse 19 is interesting.
Joshua tells Achan to give glory and praise to the God of Israel,
but the way in which he was to do that was to confess his sin.
Confession of sin and subsequent repentance therefore is one way
to give glory and praise to the Lord.
This is something that Evangelical Christians should think
seriously about. Giving
praise and thanks to God is more than singing songs on a Sunday morning.
In verses 20 and 21 Achan does as Joshua asks.
He confesses. He says
he sinned, and he tells Joshua what he took from Jericho. The Babylonian robe would
have been a robe used in pagan worship.
Achan went as far as to tell Joshua where he hid the things he
was not supposed to have. Achan
did confess his sin, but he still died.
Again, some have trouble with the severity of this punishment,
but, once again, God's holiness is beyond our knowing.
It is perfect.
From verse 23 to the end of the chapter some Israelis
gathered all the things that Achan took.
They also gathered all of his possessions, including cattle and
children. They stoned Achan
and his family and once they all were dead, they burned him, his family,
his cattle, and all of his possession.
The sinner was now gone from their midst and God's anger was
Again, this is a dreadful thing.
This is hard for many to understand, but this shows us how God
hates sin. And once again,
this shows us the importance of the cross of Christ.
Instead of killing more Achans, Jesus died in all of our places.
We no longer have to die. That
being said, if we reject what Jesus did for us, eternal death waits for
us, a death that is far worse than physical death.
We often see what has been called "family salvation" in the Old Testament. Here we see the reverse. Family punishment. This shows us the importance of the head of the family and how he lives before the Lord.