Text Joshua 7-10
Focus Joshua 7:1-12, 19-26
What is a commandment? The words spoken from the One who has the authority to give commands!
It can be said the God gives us directions so that we can live without sin in our lives.
So, who is our worst enemy?
We are our own worst enemy!
The culprit behind the majority of our sin is “covetousness”! This is a sin of the mind that goes unnoticed until it is uncovered by some action.
This may be the greatest handicap we have in our Christian walk.
In most cases we see everyone else as the enemy and ignore our own selves.
It is a fact that the Church is being wrecked from the inside and it is because of disobedience to the Word of God.
The truth is in the letters written to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation.
Satan is destroying the Church from the inside and not from the outside.
Let’s look at the steps of sin as we see the story of Achan.
He saw, He coveted, and He took and the entire Nation of Israel suffered for it!
We will never have the victory until we deal with the sin in our lives!
*****Jos 7:1 [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.
The last thing we read in chapter six was that “the Lord was with Joshua” and “his fame was sounded throughout all the country”.
Israel had captured Jericho and this gave them access to the the rest of Canaan Land.
The next fortified city would be Ai. This verse says that Israel had committed a trespass but in truth it was because of one man, Achan.
We can see the truth of how this relates to the church, the Body of Christ, in the words of the Apostle Paul.
1Co 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
1Co 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
You know in our modern times here in America, one woman, Madeline Murray O’Hare brought an end to prayer in our public schools.
One person can still cause a nation to sin against God! One person can cause a community to suffer and one person in the House of God can cause the Church to suffer!
That accursed thing would be something that was devoted to a false god. It would also mean anything that Jehovah had commanded to be destroyed.
*****Jos 7:2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.
Before Joshua moves forward to the next city, Ai the same as Hai in the Book of Genesis, he sends someone to spy on it.
Another way to read this verse would be to “Ai” that heap of ruins, which is beside “Bethhaven”, that place of nothingness, on the east side of Bethel “the House of God”.
Bethel was the place of Jacob’s vision, we call Jacob’s Ladder, and Joshua and Israel was well aware of this place.
Remember Joshua had the Books of Moses at this time and was commanded to know it.
*****Jos 7:3 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.
The spies reported that Ai was small. Ai was a 16 mile march all uphill as the rise in terrain was about 3400 feet. These spies said a small force of 3000 men, that could travel light could easily defeat this city. They were correct in their assessment except one thing.
They were over confident in their own abilities and had become self reliant.
They had left out the most important part. They had not consulted with Jehovah God.
*****Jos 7:4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of
Jos 7:5 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.
We must be very clear in our thinking, sin separates us from the will of God and if it is not sincerely repented of and put away, it will bring disaster. Not only to the sinner but to all those that are around them.
We see this every day in our own families!
It took this defeat for Israel and Joshua to realize they had left Jehovah out of the plan!
What does Jesus tell us all?
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:[ for without me ye can do nothing.]
This even gets more serious as we near the end times as Jesus says to the Church:
Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
The greatest threat right now is the movement that is called Chris-lam that totally takes away the diety of Christ!
Prophesy is fulfilling right before our eyes!
*****Jos 7:6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.
Why is it that only after we suffer defeat in our lives, do we try to get serious with God?
Among the culture of that day, what Joshua did was a sign of violent grief and humiliation.
We must come humbly before the Lord.
Jas 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
*****Jos 7:7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!
Jos 7:8 O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!
Defeat brings doubt and discouragement. What Joshua should have realized is that this was a test. Maybe not so much for Joshua but surely for Israel.
Joshua was afraid that the Lord had forsaken Israel.
He was also afraid that the people of Canaan Land would loose their fear of God’s people and experience a revival.
Joshua knew that God’s name would not be great before the world if it was reported that Israel would flee before her enemies. Joshua was concerned for the honor of God even more that the fate of Israel.
In our modern day we can see that Israel has learned this lesson well. They do not flee from any enemy today.
*****Jos 7:9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?
Jos 7:10 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
The Lord will never be moved by grief when it is caused by a grievous sin! God will never be pleased by prayer when we go before Him and have not repented of our sin. Unanswered prayer is not always caused by the sin in our lives but it is the first place we should look.
It does no good to whine before the Lord and He is not ever pleased with a whiner.
God is also not pleased with any lack of faith.
The sin of Achan was a sin against Israel. Israel had broken again the covenant they had just made with the Lord.
Above all things Achan had committed sacrilege to Jehovah and theft and deceit to Israel!
What does God still tell the Church?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
We really never know for what reason it seems that some people leave this world early but we must know that this could be one of the reasons.
*****Jos 7:11 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.
This is God speaking to Joshua.
Joshua could not have known that Achan had broken the covenant of God.
What was God’s command?
Jos 6:17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
Jos 6:18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
Jos 6:19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.
Since Israel committed this sin, they made themselves accursed by the same Word of God. And the Lord will no longer be with them until this is settled.
*****Jos 7:12 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.]
Did the Lord stop loving Israel? NO
Why would God blame the whole nation?
Israel was no longer a ragtag bunch of tribes but one nation that depended on each other. We should not be bothered by this because it is the same message God gives to the church.
1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
Here again we find the truth of this message in the Book of Revelation:
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Here we see the Lord outside the Laodicean Church, no longer a part of the final Church age.
God’s message does not change as time passes by.
There is only one Gospel!
There is only one Word of God!
Sin will separate us from God in any age:
Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
skip to verse 19
*****Jos 7:19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
What happened between verse 13-18 is hard to explain. The use of lots for making Divine decisions was a common practice but the decision itself was regarded as coming from the Lord.
Pro 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
The guilt was placed on Achan of the tribe of Judah. Joshua urges Achan to make a full confession and Achan responds.
There is one thing that needs to be pointed, as we will see.
It is too late to confess your sin “if you wait till the day of judgment”!
*****Jos 7:20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
Jos 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
Achan says: I saw, I coveted, and I took.
That Babylonish garment is called “a mantle of Shinar”. This was probably a royal garment that was woven our of gold according to Josephus.
The silver was probably not coins but in pieces. A common shekel was about “two fifths of an ounce”. Most coins were not around until around 500 BC.
Again it is too late to confess and repent on the day of judgment. Repentance will not be allowed at the White Throne Judgment!
Achan had clearly understood that all the spoils of Jericho were devoted to the Lord, so Achan had robbed God!
Achan had taken the wrong steps.
The Book of James tells us:
Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
It seems that it is always that look that gets us into trouble. Job knew this and here’s what he said:
Job 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
That first look may not be our fault but that second one surely is and it will lead to sin.
There was nothing in Jericho that was to be considered “spoils of war” because they had already been dedicated to the Lord and they were the Lords.
Achan also made a serious mistake to think he could get away with what he did.
The Bible teaches us:
Num 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: [and be sure your sin will find you out].
If Achan had waited till the destruction of Ai, he could have gathered all the spoils he could carry.
What does the Bible teach us all?
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; [and all these things shall be added unto you].
We not only need to get our attitude right, we must get our priorities right!
*****Jos 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it.
Jos 7:23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, [and laid them out before the LORD].
These things were devoted to the Lord by His own voice. They had to be presented back to the Lord for all Israel to see because the next step was judgment and all Israel would be witnesses to this blasphemy.
All Israel had to realize it was sin that separated them from Jehovah and it had to be sincerely repented of and put out of the way. If not it would surely bring destruction!
Not only to Achan but also to Israel.
*****Jos 7:24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
Before we condemn what this verse says we should look at a couple of things.
1.) The law of Israel did not allow innocent family members to be punished for the sins of a relative.
2.) It would have been real hard for Achan to have stolen this much of God’s devoted things alone.
Deu 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
Achan’s family must have been involved so all were guilty for none had repented. This whole family had turned from the living God and had given their hearts to things God said were accursed.
They were about to find out that it was not worth it!
The Valley of Achor in Hebrew means The valley of trouble”.
*****Jos 7:25 And Joshua said, [Why hast thou troubled us?] the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.
We are to learn from these examples in the Old Testament. We can see many times that God will reveal His wrath in a very dramatic way.
God gave Israel a clear message that they could not take the Word of God lightly.
God means what He says and God does what He says!
We can act like liberals and think God will not punish sin but we would have to throw the Bible away because it teaches that there will be judgment for every disobedience!
Isa 65:10 And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, [and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in], for my people that have sought me.
The prophet Isaiah foretold that this valley of trouble would become a place of rest, probably during the Millennial Kingdom because Israel would then be obedient to the Word of God.
Hos 2:15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and [the valley of Achor for a door of hope]: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
The prophet Hosea said this valley of trouble would one day be a door of hope. Again because Israel would one day be obedient to the Word of God and her troubles over and Israel would never suffer defeat again because of her sin.
God gives the church this warning:
Rom 8:13 [For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die]: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Rom 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, [the motions of sins], which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
We can think of these “motions of sin” as the passion of our flesh to commit sin.
And God says:
Rom 1:26 [For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections]: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
You will not find a happy Christian who will not deal with the sin in their life. Most all of them lead miserable lives.
*****Jos 7:26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. [So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger]. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.
That heap of stones was a reminder that God expects His people to obey His Word and we know that God does not change. He stills has those same expectations for all His children!
We know God is love!
1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
But we also know that God has no tolerance for sin!
1Jn 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
When we surrender to the Lord, no defeat is permanent.
When we surrender to the Lord, no mistake we make is beyond remedy.
But we cannot carry unrepented sin and be close to God!