Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Joshua 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.
Hey all, back with another blog today, and today I will be talking about Achan – the troubler of Israel. The Biblical account of Achan is found in Joshua 7 and it would be best to read the chapter as I will be referring to the story throughout this blog. Achan stands as an eternal reminder to us of how serious God is about sin. Of how our sins, no matter how few (that we think they are), or how insignificant, or how well hidden we think they are … sin bites us in the end. The poison of sin, the bite of sin, the sting of sin. As Moses said, Be sure your sin will find you out.
Achan’s story is shocking and sobering. How severe was the penalty for such a “little” sin! And it wasn’t just Achan that got killed because of it, but everything that he had, his family, his possessions, his prosperity. Everything “Achan” was destroyed. How could a loving God do this? Remember, the God of the Bible is unchanging, eternal, he is the same God today that he was back then. How could this happen!? It had been so triumphant, it had been so successful under Joshua, and then bam, this chapter hits us. And the Israeli juggernaut came to a grinding halt. Achan had to be uncovered, Achan had to be dealt with.
Jericho was cursed, God had told Israel not to take a thing but to destroy Jericho completely and utterly, the warning was there, but Achan saw some items that he coveted and he took them and hid them in the earth in his tent. What’s in your tent? It is a good question to ask ourselves. What little sins, what dangerous little religion, what innocent little pleasures are hiding in our tents? Achan not only cost himself and his family’s lives, but the lives of other Israelites. When Israel marched on the next town (the town of Ai), they were smashed by the enemy, because God was angry with them. Sin was in the camp, serious sin. What sin is in your camp? Because as good as Israel was going, Israel had an Achan in it’s midst, which troubled it, and so we also experience “Achans” in our lives, things in the midst of our life, hidden away, festering away, rotting away unseen, undetected, untreated.
It is important to understand the story of Achan. Biblical accounts have infinite value to us, they are MUCH more than just historical stories. God’s word is our life. As we read it, meditate upon it, abide in it, God shows us what it means, and not just in an intellectual sense, but in a heart sense, God’s word ministers to our hearts, it changes our hearts, transforming our lives. It is the cornerstone of our existence. That’s what faith is as defined by the Bible, faith is IN God’s word. God has spoken, God’s word is available, and we either accept it, receive it, believe it, or dispute it, question it, reject it. We will be looking at Achan from the perspective of our own lives. His life, his story is very applicable to our lives, our stories, and Achan represents sin, rebellion, our flesh, the world, troublers in our life, which cripple, ruin, undermine and defeat us, unless dealt with.The story of Achan shows us the importance of holiness and sanctification as believers, where we are set apart unto God, where God purges us, cleanses us, where God works in our lives, setting us free from bondage to sin, releasing us from the grip of the vices of our old life.
Achan was referred to as the troubler of Israel. He troubled Israel. Sin troubles us. The world troubles us. Our flesh troubles us. The devil troubles us. We have troublers in our lives, and troublers working on our lives. A saved person cannot be devil possessed, but the devil can use things in us and around us to trouble us, he can plant things in us, in our soul which cripple us … doubts, worries, unbelief, unfaithfulness, leading us to sin … just to begin with. Joshua represents Jesus, the mighty captain of our salvation, leading us into the promised land of our lives, our Canaan, the life that God has for us here on earth where we experience blessing, where we possess his promises, where we enter into his rest. Where we are walking with God by faith, experiencing the abundant life that a believer in fellowship with God has. Joshua and Israel were all conquering, but Achan troubled them. He halted Israel’s progress, because of him Israel experienced pain, defeat, death. We can be going on so alright in our Christian life, and then the storms of life hit, and we don’t know what hit us. We can be knocked for six, we never see it coming. We can be coming off a mighty victory, as Israel was, and then the next day, experience devastating crushing defeat which makes us question every aspect of the Christian faith, which makes us doubt, question, despair of God.
As Israel did, so we may have to experience loss before we are even aware of the problem of a troubler in our midst. Israel was completely unaware of what Achan had done, but God wasn’t. Our sin can go undetected for a while, it can look like we are getting by, that it doesn’t really matter, that its’ not an issue … but we are not, and never do, put sin past God. And once God dealt with Achan, the result was final. Thank God we are not under the law like Achan was, the severity of the law to sinful humanity is death. We break God’s law all the time, without Jesus, we would have noone standing in the gap between us and God. It is because of Jesus that we have grace, without Jesus we would be in a hopeless case, as we all have sinned, we all deserve death. We need God to show us the Achan’s of our lives. You may be experiencing defeat in your life like Achan was, and are like what is going on! just as Joshua was. God will show you what you need to address in your life, all our situations are different, but the same, one Spirit of truth guides us into truth.
We all have Achans in our lives, little things in our lives which undermine our fellowship with God, little things which must be dealt with for us to enter into the blessedness and abundant life which Jesus freely gives us. Just like Joshua dealt with Achan, so Jesus needs to deal with our Achans. He can, he does, he will. Jesus intercedes for us, he is our Great High Priest, he is the one Mediator between God and man. Jesus deals with our Achans just as Joshua did, he completely destroys our Achans. It is his power, his ability, his faith, his life, his hope. Not only Achan has to be destroyed, but EVERYTHING that is Achan must be destroyed. When Jesus does a work, it is full, complete, final. Our salvation is complete, full, final. When we are saved, it is a done deal forever, there is no limbo, no uncertainty. There is a record, a witness. 1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. Jesus needs to deal with Achan, and Jesus does deal with Achan. Our Achans must be dealt with before we can proceed.
Jericho represents the world, death, curse. Jericho may have been an attractive place to the eye, but it was empty, doomed, a place to get out of (ask Rahab!) … and it had weak walls. Walls the fell down. What walls do you have in your life? Are they the sure walls of salvation or faulty walls of false religion, of idolatry, of good works, of self righteousness, intellect, of attempts to live better, to do better? Not only that but Jericho had a dodgy water supply. What water are you tapped into? The water of life, the flowing, life giving river that issues from the Lord Jesus Christ, or the stagnant ponds of human creation, which have no life to give, which are poisonous to the soul, terminal to our existence, which offer false hope … a treacherous mirage in the desert of our existence?
Achan saw something in Jericho, from Jericho that he fancied. The Bible says love not the world, because all that is in the world is the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Achan saw, coveted, took, possessed something that allured, enticed, seduced him. We can be just like Achan and take something of the world, do things that please our flesh, be taken in by things that play to our emotions, our feelings, our pride, our intellect. Achan took a Babylonish garment, representing false religion, a false garment of righteousness, not the true garment of Christ’s righteousness, he took a wedge of gold, representing wealth, money (the love of money is the root of all evil), he took silver, silver represents redemption in the Bible, but the silver of Jericho is false redemption, and in fact COSTS you your life, not gives you life. Place your faith in the right thing, not in experiences, feelings, intellect, place your faith in God’s word, the SURE word. Peter of all people had reason to trust in experience, having lived with Jesus, having been on the Mount when he heard God’s voice from heaven. But he said… we have a MORE sure word of prophecy. Are you truly redeemed by the spotless, sinless, shed blood of Christ? What in the world do you see in Jericho that you want in your tent, which ultimately will cost you your life? What do you covet, what is your kryptonite, your achilles heel, your besetting sin, the sin that troubles you? Unless Jesus deals with it, it can’t even be begun to be dealt with … ask him to, pray him to, he will show you your Achans, he will deal with your Achans.
Achan holds us back. Achan defeats us. Achan betrays us. Achan hurts us in every way. An undetected, untreated, unsolved Achan will harm us in every way. Achan must be uncovered and dealt with. Israel could not succeed until he was out the way, they were full of defeat.God’s anger is against sin. Before we are covered in the blood of Christ, we have nothing to satisfy the just demands of the angry God. His anger is against our sin, he is utterly holy, our sin must be dealt with fully and forever. That was the severity of the law. The law, which serves to point us to Christ, as we see how sinful we are, we see how hopeless we are, we see how in need of a Saviour we are. Without the law, we do not need Christ. We are all sinners, we have all sinned. We sin before we are saved, and after we are saved. If you are saved, there are still sins in our life we have to deal with, that we have an ongoing battle with. We are forgiven yes, but we are not in heaven yet in our new sinless, glorified bodies … we are still in a sinful body, and we have a battle between the Spirit and our flesh in us. The Spirit pulls one way, the flesh pulls another. After we are saved, we live a life of sanctification, where we are set apart, separated unto God. That is the work of the Holy Spirit in us as we live and grow in Christ. Will we live by faith? Will we confess our sins? Will we get right with God, deal with our Achans and move onward in the promised land? Because he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Jesus is our solution to Achan, just as Joshua was in the Old Testament. We cannot deal with him ourselves, we need the power of God, power that God has and will give (Jesus said all power is given unto him in earth and in heaven), that God will show upon and in the life of a humble, broken heart. By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, by the faith OF the Lord Jesus Christ, finally recognize and deal with … and say goodbye to your Achan today.