As you read this account of, first their victory over Jericho, and then get the details of their humiliating defeat, you come to see an awesome truth. Israel had sinned and was made LIABLE TO DESTRUCTION by the disobedience of one man! Achan had become enchanted with a beautiful Babylonian robe, and he took it, along with some silver and golden objects of beauty, and hid them safely away from the eyes of Joshua and everyone else. He dug a hole in the ground inside his tent and buried them where no one would know. Except God.
He was taken out to the Valley of Achor (“destruction”) and, along with all his sons and daughters and ALL HIS POSSESSIONS, was stoned to death and burned. He and his family, along with all their cattle and other “things” became a part of the DEVOTED THINGS of the city of Jericho! THEN THE LORD TURNED FROM HIS FIERCE ANGER! And Joshua returned and totally destroyed the city and the people of Ai.
What a lesson to us, the Church of Jesus Christ, in this day. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Most of us have brought with us into the Body of believers some of our own “DEVOTED THINGS”. Personal life-styles or habits that are not pleasing to the Lord; attitudes and thought patterns that say “do it MY way”; problems of anger, or criticism, or judgement, which we have not cast into the fire.
But Jesus said He plans to present TO HIMSELF a RADIANT CHURCH – a BRIDE without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but one that is HOLY and BLAMELESS. And Peter says, “The Lord knows how to RESCUE the godly men from trials.” Then he says, “God also knows how to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgement.” This is especially true for those “who follow the CORRUPT DESIRE of the SINFUL NATURE and DESPISE AUTHORITY.” (2 Peter 2:9-10).
All over the world today, everywhere, leaders in the Body of Christ are all saying the same thing: “The SPIRITUAL WARFARE is getting more intense by the hour.” At the root of our problem is that SIN NATURE – rebellion! We want to do our own thing. Like Achan, we DESPISE AUTHORITY. We want to hold onto that which we’re devoted to; our own way; our THINGS.
The destruction of this man Achan is repeated very graphically in the New Testament, with the story of Annanias and his wife, Sapphira. You know the story. “They held back a part of the money from the sale of some land” and buried it in their own tent. Their DEVOTED THING was money. What’s yours, what’s mine?
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 28, January/February 1983.