Sunday, December 8, 2013

God Judges Israel for the Sin of Achan (Joshua 7:1-5, 10-12)

Joshua 7

King James Version (KJV)

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.
And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.
And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.
So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.
And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.


10 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.

Here is an example of God dealing with a nation corporately. Upon defeating Jericho, the Israelites was ordered to not take for themselves spoil for private use. 

Achan violates this command, and so God judges all of Israel by causing it to lose the battle and the lives of several men. God then warns that unless Israel capitally punishes the perpetrator, He will no longer be with Israel in battle . The people had previously vowed that whoever rebels against Joshua's commands should be put to death (Joshua 1:18).

Let this be a warning for armies going to battle. If they commit grievous sins, they too may suffer defeat and the loss of lives as a consequence. As such, the best army is an army of men who fear the Lord. Those in their midst guilty of biblical capital punishments should be put to death as speedily as biblical due process permits.