The Aching Achan Caused

Title: The Aching Achan Caused

Bible Book: Joshua 7

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Sin, Consequences of; Confession; Judgment; Repentance



The people of God were not to keep anything found in City of Jericho after the walls came down and the city was defeated. This was a clear command from God to Joshua and the people before the marched around the city. After the Jericho had fallen, we read in Joshua 7 that Joshua was sending a small group of his men up to the City of Ai to take the city. Joshua knew that Ai was a small place compared to Jericho, so he did not take that battle as a serious issue. Perpetual victory is to be the plan of God for his people and Joshua knew that. Yet, we note here that Ai defeated the band of Hebrew soldiers easily and sent them fleeing for their lives. Why did this happen? How could a city so small trounce God’s people so easily? What was the problem?

The reason for the reversal at Ai was caused by a man named Achan. After Jericho fell, Achan slipped into the burning city and found two hundred shekels of silver, a wedge of god and a beautiful Babylonian garment. He took this items, though God had plainly warned the people that all the items in Jericho were cursed. He hid these items under his tent. You see, there was sin in the camp of God’s people and defeat followed in the path of that sin.

That is why 3,000 handpicked men who went up to fight at Ai were sent running, and thirty-six of the Hebrew men among them were killed. A war was lost because of one man's sin. That is not all, even his own household suffered loss because of his disobedience.

I. The Cause Of Achan's Sin

Joshua 7:6-11

Israel had sinned and the entire nation suffered because of it. Defying God can bring great sorrow to a people who disregard clear instructions. There is a sense in which we are responsible for the sins in our land. There is a thing called corporate guilt.

A. Covetousness Of Achan

Achan sinned against God by being covetous and acting on the temptation. Covetousness is a desire for that to which we have no right. It is caused by a total disregard or weak love for God.

Think about the carbon monoxide detector in your home. Most of us have one and we know that it can protect us from an odorless but deadly gas. If that alarm were to sound in your home, would you obey the alarm or break it to silence it? Sadly, many people today break God’s alarm in order to enjoy their disobedience. Be sure of this, breaking the alarm does not remove the danger and death that follows when it is not heeded!

B. Prayerlessness Of Joshua And The People

Joshua 7:3

We need to consider how proud the victory at Jericho had made Joshua and God’s people. After the rout of the city, Joshua never considering calling the people to pray before going up to Ai. He presumed upon God, thinking that one victory assured him of continuing victories. God was being taken for granted, and that is not something God will tolerate.

There is an old story of a woodpecker that makes the point here. The woodpecker was on a tree pounding away with his beak against the hardened wood. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck the tree and split it from the top to the bottom. A few minutes later the woodpecker brought all his friends to see the tree and said, “There it is gentlemen, right over there. Just look at what I did to that tree!" The woodpecker was taking the credit for something God had done. How often we do that as well. We get a promotion at work, discover success in our business or achieve something for which we are rewarded, and immediately we throw out our chest and become proud. Sure, you may possess gifts that led to your success and you may have worked very hard to make a mark in your field, but without God’s blessing where might you be? There are some people today who are in institution, through no fault of their own, and they cannot count from one to ten or understand fundamental activities. Others are injured so badly that they can never again move around in the world you are in. Count your blessings, my friends, or you may not be able to count them in the days to come. Every good and perfect gift comes down from above!

In order to show our dependence upon God and our appreciation for God, we must never take victory for granted. We are to pray without ceasing. We are always to pray so that we do not faint. Pray is an act of faith and it is an act of humility.

II. The Consequences Of Achan's Sin

There is definitely a curse on the unconfessed sins in the lives of God's people. We cannot sin and prosper. In fact, if you can live in sin and come to no difficult consequences, you need to check the credentials of your salvation. Note what the Bible says in Hebrews 12:6-8:

“’For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.'

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”

This passage warns us that a life without disciple from the Father, is an unsaved life. Those who can sin without the chastisement of God are illegitimate – meaning that they were never really saved – they never experienced the new birth in Christ.

A. He Brought Dishonor To His God

He brought disrespect on his God. We bring reproach on the name of God when we sin against His straightforward commands.

B. He Brought Defeat To His Friends

He brought pain and sorrow to his friends who were sent up to Ai to fight. Thirty-six families lost loved ones in the battle because of Achan. Some people will say, “My sin is my business!” No, dear friend, your sin and mine affects those around us.

C. He Brought Disgrace To His Family

He brought disgrace to his family - to his family name.

D. He Brought Death To His Loved Ones

He corrupted his children, and brought death to his entire family. It is a hard truth, but the sin of one person in a family that bring great sorrow and even death to others.

I read some time ago of a father who was drunk and forced his children into the car. His intent was to take back children that had been given in a custody battle to their mother. He drove the car across a median and directly into an oncoming semi-truck. Sin can and does hurt those in our family and it did so to Achan’s family.

III. The Cure For Achan's Sin

Is there a cure for sin? Oh, but yes! There is a place we can go and we ought to go hastily. It has been said that "haste makes waste," but that does not apply to confession of sin. God is ready to forgive when a person is ready to honestly confess and fully commit to Him.

A. The Divine Revelation Of This Sin

In Joshua 7:18 we read of the unveiling of Achan’s sin. “Be sure your sin will find you out.” God used a systematic elimination to bring out Achan’s sin. You can hide some sins from your family, your friends and your preacher, but you can’t hide a single sin from God.

Ashley Madison claimed to be the premiere website for married people to hook up with partners for affairs. Recently, seven years worth of credit card payments and other transactions were hacked and released to the public from the Ashley Madison website. The website bragged about having forty million users when the breach of information was captured by the hacker. The site was advertised as “…the most famous name in infidelity and married dating.” The hacker who grabbed the information released the data for everyone in the world to read. Thousands upon thousands of people who thought they had hidden their activity are now scrambling to reduce the damage that has been done. This past week, one man jumped from the top of a building in one of our American cities because his name was released as one of those who had used the site for a sexual tryst. A famous Christian is apologizing for his name being found on that website. Many in government, all the way up to the White House employees, have been discovered as using the site.

Be sure you sin will find you out and it will harm you and others. God knows our sins and He can release them to the world whenever He desires!

A newspaper known for printing the sinful, illegal and otherwise unwholesome acts of people came under criticism for the practice. The publisher responded by printing this in his response: "If you don't want it printed, don't let it happen."

B. The Delayed Confession Of This Sin

Achan confessed, but it was too late. Do you think if Achan had come forward on his own, that perhaps he and his family might have been spared? Perhaps. Certainly the battle at Ai might have ended differently. Thirty-six lives might have been saved. Surely his family would have been spared. The delay in his confession, led to sorrow and death for many.

Romans 14:12 reads: “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”

My friends, if we are going to give account to God, let us do it now! Let us confess and repent now. The day will come when it is too late.

C. The Disregarded Cure For This Sin

Gary Moore writes: "One very important - but very difficult truth was actually uncovered by G.K. Chesterton almost a century ago. The London Times had asked various writers to respond to the question, `What's wrong with the world?' Chesterton's response was simply: `Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton.'" [Zondervan Press Syndicate, Aug 1996. Page 6.]

When we can confess our sins as readily as G.K. Chesterton, we are ready to receive God's mercy instead of his wrath.


The time of repentance is NOW. The time for salvation is NOW. There is no other time promised to us. We do not have the assurance of another day. God calls us now to come to Him. He is a loving and forgiving God. He sent His Son that we might have forgiveness and salvation; however, we cannot know either without standing up to the truth that we have sinned against Him.

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