Lessons From the Sin of Achan
LESSONS FROM THE SIN ACHAN
TEXT: Joshua 6:18-19INTRODUCTIONIn the taking of the city of Jericho, God gave instructions that they were not to take of any of the spoils. Everything was to be destroyed except the precious metals which were to be brought into the treasury of the Lord. Joshua 6:18-19Thus, no one should have had any problems understanding God's will in this matter.As recorded in Joshua 7 & 8, everyone obeyed God, except one.THE HISTORICAL EVENTS.Joshua sent spies to spy out Ai. Joshua 7:2The spies said that only two or three thousand should be sufficient to take Ai because it was a small city. Joshua 7:3Three thousand were sent, and they were defeated. Thirty-six of the Israelite soldiers were slain. Joshua 7:4-5aThe hearts of the people melted, and Joshua made a plea to God. Joshua 7:5a-9God revealed that there was sin in the camp, and for this reason Israel could not stand before its enemies. Joshua 7:10-12God explains how Joshua was to find the sinner - Tribes, Families, and then households were to pass before Joshua.The tribe of Judah, the family of the Zarhites, and, finally, the household of Achan was identified by God. Joshua 7:16-19Joshua compels Achan to confess his sin, and Achan does so. Joshua 7:19-21Thus, he said, more or less, "I saw"; "I coveted"; "I took."Achan and his household was severely punished. Joshua 7:25-26The Israelites easily then take Ai by surprise attack.They send 30,000 men by night to wait in ambush behind the city.When Joshua and the others came to the city, they fled as though they were being defeated as before.The whole city comes out to chase them.The 30,000 quickly went into the city and set it on fire.Joshua and his men turn on the men of Ai, the soldiers come out of the city and the people of Ai are caught in the middle and are defeated.LESSONS FROM THE SIN OF ACHAN.! I. The severity of sin.
A. Our sins are abhorred by God just as much as Achan's was in that ancient time.
1. God does not immediately expose and punish sin today as He did back then, but he will punish in due time.
2. Because the punishment is not immediate (both from God and civil authorities), there is much wickedness. Ecclesiastes 8:11
3. We have faith that the punishment will eventually come, and thus walk in the fear of God. Ecclesiastes. 8:12-13
4. The punishment of sin is reserved for the great judgment day.
B. The N.T. warns of the impending vengeance and wrath of God. Hebrews 10:30-31
C. With the examples of God's wrath on the sinners, and with the warnings of future punishment, we should walk in the fear of God.
1. We should so live that God is pleased with us. Hebrews 12:28-29
II. God sanctions capital punishment.
A. Capital punishment has been so fixed by God under all ages.
1. After the flood. Genesis 9:6-7
a) Note that the "reason" for capital punishment is based on a lasting fact, and, thus, as long as man is in the image of God, that's how long this applies.
2. In the Mosical age, as seen in the punishment of Achan.
3. Under the New Testament age - Romans 13:1-4
a) The "sword" was a means of capital punishment under the Roman Empire.
III. Sin cannot be hidden from God. Poverbs. 15:3; Hebrews 4:13
A. Ananias and Sapphire also learned that one can't hide his sins from God. Acts 5:1-5
IV. Our sins can trouble other people.
A. Achan's sin caused Israel to be defeated by their enemies. Thirty-six men died as a result of Achan's sin.
B. God punished the whole family of Achan so that the rest of the nation could see that God would not tolerate sin.
C. There are many sins which not only bring evil effects to the sinner, but to the sinner's family as well; e.g., stealing, murder, lying, drunkenness.
1. We would not hurt those who we truly love, especially those of our own family. Romans 13:10; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
V. We should immediately confess our sins and not wait until we are caught.
A. Achan's confession came only after he was directly confronted by Joshua.
1. He did not come forward when Israel failed in its first attempt to take Ai.
2. He was still hiding his sin even when the lengthy investigation was underway.
B. Thus, so far as God was concerned, his confession came too late.
1. If Achan had confessed his sin, sometime before he was confronted by Joshua, no doubt, God would have been merciful to Him. Isaiah 55:6-7
C. We should confess our sins immediately, and not wait until we are caught.
1. To be sorry we were caught is not true repentance. Proverbs 28:13
VI. The church cannot tolerate sin in its midst.
A. God required that they purge the sinner from the congregation of Israel.
1. He requires the same today. 1 Corinthians 5:4-7,11
2. The whole church at Peragmos was told to repent when it allowed sin to remain its midst. Revelation 2:14-16
B. Let us all keep ourselves pure, and sin will not be named among us. Ephisians 5:3-6
C. Even though most in the body of Christ are trying to do right, there are some who are sinners just like Achan was.
1. When there is open sin in the congregation, and it is overlooked, it preaches the lesson: "Sin doesn't matter."
2. Those who try to uphold the wicked are abomination to the Lord. Proverbs 17:15
D. The church cannot have the victories it should when there is sin in the camp.
VII. Beware of covetousness.
A. Achan said, "I saw; I coveted; I took." Joshua 7:20-24
B. Covetousness is idolatry. Colossians 3:5
1. Achan wanted those material things more than a right relationship with God. He placed a chunk of metal and some clothing above his relationship with God.
C. The example of Achan teaches us of the dangers of covetousness. We need to beware.
1. We, too, can place material things above our relationship with God.
D. The fate of covetousness will be the same in the end as that of Achan.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Several years ago, construction workers were laying a foundation for a building outside the city of Pompeii. They found the corpse of a woman who must have been fleeing from an eruption of the nearby volcano, but was caught in the rain of hot ashes. The woman's hands clutched jewels, which were preserved in excellent condition. She had the jewels, but had lost her life.
1. To covet the things of this world is foolish because we cannot take them with us when we die.
E. Let us read the parable of the rich fool. Luke 12:15-21
There's an old legend about two very covetous men who were granted a wish upon the condition that whoever made the first wish, the second would receive a double portion of the what the first requested. The first greedy man knew what he wanted, but he would not make his wish because he wanted the double portion for himself. The second covetous man felt the same; thus, he was also unwilling make the first wish. After a long while, the first, who was strongest of the two, grabbed the second by the throat and said he would choke him to death unless he made his wish. As the second man was about to die, he said, "I wish to be made blind in one eye." Immediately, he lost the sight of one eye, and his companion went blind in both eyes!
The moral is of this story is, "Beware of covetousness."
CONCLUSIONAll these lessons can be learned from the story of Achan. If we don't learn anything else, we should be impressed with the fact that God will punish us when we sin against Him. God punishes sin, and God punishes severely. Thus, it is a very serious thing to sin against Almighty God. God loves the sinner (the person himself), but utterly hates the sin. There's a great judgment day coming in which all of us will give account of ourselves to God. Let us repent of our sins while there is time and opportunity. God has promised that he will forgive us when we humbly turn to Him. 1 John 1:9Lessons From The Sin Of AchanThe Severity Of SinGod Sanctions Capital PunishmentSin Cannot Be Hidden From GodOur Sins Can Trouble Other PeopleWe Should Immediately Confess Our SinsThe Church Cannot Tolerate Sin In Its MidstBeware Of Covetousness