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The sin of Achan Joshua 7
The sin of Achan
Joshua 7

Last week we began to study the Book of Joshua together

-The Book of Joshua details Israel's taking of the Promised Land (so promised to Abraham and his descendants 400 years prior)
-The key verse of the Book of Joshua is Joshua 1:9 which says; "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
-To start off our series we took a look at Joshua 2 which details for us the salvation of a very special woman named Rahab- a woman who was once a prostitute who became a woman of strong faith and so distinguished that she is in the lineage of Christ (as to his human nature)

This morning we are going to take a brief look at Joshua 7.

In this chapter the Israelites, fresh off the heels of their amazing victory over the city of Jericho, experience a crushing and humiliating defeat at the hands of a small group of soldiers from the city of Ai.

So shocking was their defeat that the morale of the entire nation- including Joshua's- was broken.

In the time that remains I want to explore this passage with you-with a special focus on a Israelite man named Achan- the man who was responsible for the debacle that was Ai.

Please turn with me to Joshua 7 and lets read verses 1-15


1. A critical mistake that all of us make at times is this: We forget to pray and seek the face of God before acting

In our text we are told that Joshua sends some spies out (just like before). He gets a report back that taking Ai will be a piece of cake. He assumes that God will hand their enemies over just like he had done with Jericho and so without prayer, without hearing from God he sends out 3000 troops and then BAM!!! total disaster.

A couple of things

a. Never presume upon God
b. Don't expect things to be easy all the time
c. Commit your way to the Lord-- pray about everything at all times.

We need to be a people of constant prayer. Prayer in the morning. Prayer through the day. Prayer through the watches of the night. God is to factor into everything we do
Our prayers are to be for His glory and His will being done-- not "God will you rubber stamp all my requests" kinds of prayer.

2. We are not always as STRONG AND COURAGEOUS as we ought to be. We have a tendency of giving up to easily when it comes to our faith and in trusting God v.10

Quite frankly, the response of Joshua after the defeated Israelites returned to camp is embarrassing-- for Joshua-- the one called to be Strong and Courageous-- and who had distinguished himself as such-- completely falls apart (read v.6-9). While his response is really weird, its easy to see ourselves in Joshua's response-- for sometimes set backs and disappointments in our life totally throw us off in our faith.

While we are prone to giving up to easily when it comes to following God, God's response in v.10a is one that we all need to hear. READ v.10a. What's God saying "MAN UP', 'STOP BEING SUCH A BABY"

Following this command of God, God then explains why disaster had befallen Israel-- we are going to explore this is a moment, but first let's not forget God's call to Joshua to "Stand up!"

Trouble and hardship is part of life-- some of it will be as consequence for our sins, some of it will be for the cause of Christ and our devotion to Him. Either way, we are to hold onto to our faith.


In Romans 3:23 we are told that "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

A New Testament parallel to Achan's sin and his death is that of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) who lied about a gift they made to the church. The result was their deaths and a great and holy fear seized the whole church and all who heard about it.

Achan's sin

-Stealing from God (the first fruits of the conquest and all things belongs to God. Achan stole from that).
-Thinking he could could hide what he did.
-The deaths of 36 Israelites.
-Fear in the hearts of all Israelites.
-The protection of God removed from the people of Israel and the anger of the Lord aroused

Because of his sin, Achan and his family died. To our ears and eyes that might seem like a bit much- for isn't God supposed to be 'all loving', isn't God supposed to be merciful.

God is loving. God is merciful. God is perfect in all His ways.

If not for the grace and mercy of God, we'd all be dead right now-- so when we hear of someone getting what we deserve, why do we call it unjust, why do we think God's over reacting?

Some principles for us as it relates to Achan's sin

a. Be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23)
b. When we sin it affects and hurts those around us. Sin is never in a vacuum
c. Sin tends to be compounding. One sin leads to another. i.e David and Bathsheba
d. Sin brings the judgment of God. The wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23a). Obedience brings blessing. Disobedience brings judgment.
e. We must take care to examine ourselves and to deal with the sin that is in our lives.

We are not to give the Devil a foothold. We are not to persist and abide in what we know is against God.

As for us examining ourselves; consider the words of David from Psalm 139:23-24; "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Our calling: Holiness! We need to take this seriously


Sin is serious. Sin brings judgment. Sin stands in the way of God's blessing and power being upon us-- SO confess your sins and take them to the cross of Christ-- for in Christ their is forgiveness of sin

As this text and the entire Word of God teaches "Unconfessed sin, sin in the midst of the people of God" is a power and blessing killer.

Sin brings judgment. Obedience brings blessing. Disobedience and rebellion against God bring judgment.

If we are to experience His strength, His power, the closeness of His presence, doors opening, obstacles being removed, victories won, spiritual growth, then we need to deal with the sin in our life-- being committed to holiness and purity.

The cure for sin and its eternal consequences is JESUS

1 John 1:9 says; "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness"

Jesus came to the earth and then died on the cross that we might have the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus took upon himself our iniquities and sin, that we might come to have forgiveness, peace with God, eternal life. (Isaiah 53:6)


Want to know how to confess? READ Psalm 51.


We've touched on a lot of things today

1. The first fruits belong to God- Achan thought he could steal what belonged to God.
2. We are to be a people of prayer.
3. We are to always look to God and never say "Oh, it's going to be a piece of cake. It's going to be easy". We always need to pray and prepare
4. When hard times come we need to hold on to our faith. We need to be strong and courageous in following God and living for Him
5. Sin is serious-- it's consequences are serious. Sin brings God's judgment. Sin compounds. Sin stays the hand of God's blessing and power in our lives. Our sins affect others. Regular self examination is needed on our parts-- along with a commitment to cleaning up our lives and being holy.
6. Jesus is the cure for sin and its consequences. In Christ is grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Come to Christ for forgiveness. Together let us give thanks for his mercy and the cross-- and live for him.