During the battle of Jericho, Achan saw a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels; he coveted them; and against the explicit command of God not to take treasures for self as they were treasures to be placed in God’s House…he took them home and buried them underneath his tent (Joshua 7). As a result of his action, God turned his back on the children of Israel and when they went to another battle at Ai which was far smaller in comparison to Jericho…they suffered a resounding defeat. The Israelites turned their backs to their enemies and ran for their lives… 36 died in that battle.
Joshua agonized before God and it was revealed to him that because of a sin in their midst, “Israel cannot stand against their enemies.” God told Joshua, “I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction” Joshua 7:12. Joshua told the Israelites that the defeat at Ai was because one of them sinned against God by taking and hiding ‘devoted things’ in his home. Did Achan come forward to confess his sin? No, probably he thought there was also another thief in the camp. Interestingly, God decided to reveal who stole the items first by choosing the tribe of the thief; then the clan; then the family and lastly the man himself. God does not see us as a crowd of people from a clan or people who fellowship in the same Church; God sees us as individuals.
Achan with his loot, together with his sons, daughters, cattle, donkey, sheep and all his properties faced the wrath; and for the sin committed by Achan… they were all stoned and burnt. Do we ever wonder how our disobedience against God impacts upon those dear to us?