10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.
Verses 10-12: The sin of one man has led to unforeseen consequences among an entire nation. God’s chosen people are going to suffer defeat after defeat at the hands of their enemy, for God will not be with them unless they correct that sin and get back into obedience. While I truly believe that salvation comes by grace through faith, not through anything we say or do, this is a good example of how hidden sins can have a ripple effect that affects those around us. There is a reason why Jesus and others often led with the word “Repent” in their message. We all are sinners (See Romans 3:23), and in the eyes of God there are no varying degrees of sins. We like to categorize them as big sins and little sins and, so long as we don’t do any of those big sins it is all okay. Or, perhaps, so long as no one else is hurt by those big sins they are okay. But God doesn’t draw those man-made lines. All sins are detestable to God and all sins stand in that chasm that separate us from being in harmony with God’s will for our lives. And when we are steeped in choices and lifestyles that run contrary to God’s will, we have a higher chance of having those decisions affect those who come into contact with us. The best solution is to find a few Christian men and/or women who you can confess those sins to and who will, in love, support you and help to keep you on track to walk on a path that will free you from bondage to those sins.
13 Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the Lord, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.”
Verse 13: Tying in with the idea of repentance comes this command from God. He commanded the people to prepare themselves, and that they need to remove the devoted things from among them. Repentance is not just confessing sin and asking for forgiveness, but it is turning away from those things as well. To go and sin no more, as Jesus commanded the woman who was to be stoned for adultery (See John 7:53-8:11).
14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. And the tribe that the Lord takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan that the Lord takes shall come near by households. And the household that the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.’”
16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
Verses 14-18: The punishment allotted for Achan might seem to us to be extreme, but we should remember that his actions were sinful and in direct conflict with God’s clear command. Achan stole what did not belong to him because he coveted the wealth. God is the supreme judge for us all, and the sentence passed down upon Achan is not out of line with what is deserved for the sin. We all deserve such punishments as sinners, for we daily commit sins in our hearts, our minds, and with our actions. This is a punishment that is very real and could be hanging over our heads each and every day. Rather than abounding in sin because of the mercy and grace of God, we should fall to our knees and give thanks to Him who sent Jesus to pay for all of our sins. A just God would give us what we deserve, saying to us “They will be done” and granting us the penalty we incur through our sinful lives. How much love God must possess for us all to send his Son to save us all and grant a path to eternal life! He knows we cannot earn that reward on our own power, yet He still welcomes us with open arms and patiently waits so that as many of His children will come to know Him and receive that salvation as is possible.