Intro. Turn if you would to Josh 6.
A. In the taking of the city of Jericho, God gave instructions that they were not to take of any of the spoils.
B. Everything was devoted to the Lord and was to be brought into the treasury of the Lord. Joshua 6:18-19
1. Thus, no one should have had any problems understanding God's will in this matter.
C. As recorded in Joshua 7 & 8, everyone obeyed God, except one.
1. Let us examine the historical events revealed in those two chapters.

A. Joshua sent spies to spy out Ai. Joshua 7:2
B. The spies said that only two or three thousand should be sufficient to take Ai because it was a small city. Joshua 7:3
C. Three thousand were sent, and they were defeated. Thirty-six of the Israelite soldiers were slain. Joshua 7:4-5a
D. The hearts of the people melted, and Joshua made a plea to God. Joshua 7:5a-9
E. God revealed that there was sin in the camp, and for this reason Israel was defeated before its enemies. Joshua 7:10-12.
F. God explains how Joshua was to find the sinner - Tribes, Families, and then households were to pass before Joshua.
1. The tribe of Judah, the family of the Zarhites, and, finally, the household of Achan was identified by God. Joshua 7:16-19
G. Joshua compels Achan to confess his sin, and Achan does so. Joshua 7:19-21
1. Thus, he said, more or less, "I saw"; "I coveted"; "I took."
H. Achan and his household were severely punished. Joshua 7:25-26

I. The Israelites easily then take Ai by surprise attack.
1. They send 30,000 men by night to wait in ambush behind the city.
2. When Joshua and the others came to the city, they fled as though they were being defeated as before.
a. The whole city comes out to chase them.
b. The 30,000 quickly went into the city and set it on fire.
c. Joshua and his men turn on the men of Ai, the soldiers come out of the city and the people of Ai are caught in the middle and are defeated.


A. The severity of sin.
1. Our sins are abhorred by God just as much as Achan's was in that ancient time.
a. God does not immediately expose and punish sin today as He did back then, but he will punish in due time.
c. We have faith that the punishment will eventually come, and thus walk in the fear of God. Eccl. 8:12-13
d. The punishment of sin is reserved for the great judgment
day. Jn 5:28-29
2. The N.T. warns of the impending vengeance and wrath of God. Heb. 10:30-31 Achan 1
3. With the examples of God's wrath on the sinners, and with the warnings of future punishment, we should walk in the fear of God.
a. Like Eccl 12:13 says, “Fear God and keep His commandments, because God will bring every act into judgment.”
b. We should so live that God is pleased with us. Heb. 12:28-29

B. God sanctions capital punishment.
1. Capital punishment has been so fixed by God under all ages.
a. After the flood. Gen. 9:6-7
(1) Note that the "reason" for capital punishment is based on a lasting fact, and, thus, as long as man is in the image of God, that's how long this applies.
b. In the Mosaical age, as seen in the punishment of Achan. It was effective. People learned, because it was carried out immediately. Eccl 8:11
c. Under the New Testament age - Rom. 13:1-4
(1) The "sword" was a means of capital punishment under the Roman Empire.

C. Sin cannot be hidden from God. Prov. 15:3; Heb. 4:13
1. Ananias and Sapphira also learned that one can't hide his sins from God. Acts 5:1-5

D. Our sins can trouble other people.
1. Achan's sin caused Israel to be defeated by their enemies.
The whole nation lost face before the Canaanites. Attacks would come. Thirty-six men died as a result of Achan's sin. Fathers, sons, brothers were dead.
2. God punished the whole family of Achan so that the rest of the nation could see that God would not tolerate sin.
3. There are many sins which not only bring evil effects to the sinner, but to the sinner's family as well; e.g., stealing, murder, lying, drunkenness, gambling, drug addiction, adultery, divorce.

E. We should immediately confess our sins and not wait until we are caught.
1. Achan's confession came only after he was directly confronted by Joshua.
a. He did not come forward when Israel failed in its first attempt to take Ai.
b. He was still hiding his sin even when the lengthy investigation was underway.
2. Thus, so far as God was concerned, his confession came too late.
a. If Achan had confessed his sin, sometime before he was confronted by Joshua, perhaps, God would have been merciful to Him. Isa. 55:6-7
3. We should confess our sins immediately, and not wait until we are caught.
a. To be sorry we were caught is not true repentance. Prov. 28:13

F. The church cannot tolerate sin in its midst.
1. God required that they purge the sinner from the congregation of Israel.
a. He requires the same today. 1 Cor. 5:4-7,11
2. Let us all keep ourselves pure, and sin will not be named among us. Eph. 5:3-6
3. Even though most in the body of Christ are trying to do right, there are some who are sinners just like Achan was— They won’t give up their sin.
a. When there is open sin in the congregation, and it is swept under the rug, it preaches the lesson: "Sin doesn't matter."
b. Those who try to uphold the wicked are abomination to the Lord. Prov. 17:15
4. The church cannot have the victories it should when there is sin in the camp.

G. Beware of covetousness.
1. Achan said, "I saw; I coveted; I took." Joshua 7:20-24
2. Covetousness is idolatry. Col. 3:5
a. Achan wanted those material things more than a right relationship with God. He placed a chunk of metal and some clothing above his relationship with God.
3. The example of Achan teaches us of the dangers of covetousness. We need to beware.
a. We, too, can place material things above our relationship with God.
4. The fate of covetousness will be the same in the end as that of Achan.
5. Heb. 13:5
a. Several years ago, construction workers were laying a foundation for a building outside the city of Pompeii. They found the corpse of a woman who had been fleeing from the nearby volcano, but was caught in the rain of hot ashes. The woman's hands clutched jewels, which were preserved in excellent condition. She had the jewels, but had lost her life.
b. To covet the things of this world is foolish because we cannot take them with us when we die.
6. Let us remember the parable of the rich fool. Luke 12:15-21

A. All these lessons can be learned from the story of Achan. (Read chart)
B. If we don't learn anything else, we should be impressed with the fact that God will punish us when we sin against Him.
1. God punishes sin, and God punishes severely.
2. Thus, it is a very serious thing to sin against Almighty God.
3. God loves the sinner (the person himself), but utterly hates the sin.
C. There's a great judgment day coming in which all of us will give account of ourselves to God.
1. Let us repent of our sins while there is time and opportunity.
2. God has promised that he will forgive us when we humbly turn to Him. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

By Robert Raif


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Lessons From The Sin Of Achan

The Severity Of Sin

God Sanctions Capital Punishment

Sin Cannot Be Hidden From God

Our Sins Can Trouble Other People

We Should Immediately Confess Our Sins

The Church Cannot Tolerate Sin In Its Midst

Beware Of Covetousness