HIDING FROM GOD
‘Create in me a pure heart, O God’ (Psalm 51:10, NIV).
Read Joshua 7:10–26
10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.
13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.
14 “‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the Lord chooses shall come forward clan by clan; the clan the Lord chooses shall come forward family by family; and the family the Lord chooses shall come forward man by man. 15 Whoever is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done an outrageous thing in Israel!’”
16 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was chosen. 17 The clans of Judah came forward, and the Zerahites were chosen. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was chosen. 18 Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was chosen.
19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and honor him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia,[a] two hundred shekels[b] of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels,[c] I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the Lord.
24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.”
Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor[d] ever since.
a. Joshua 7:21 Hebrew Shinar
b. Joshua 7:21 That is, about 5 pounds or about 2.3 kilograms
c. Joshua 7:21 That is, about 1 1/4 pounds or about 575 grams
d. Joshua 7:26 Achor means trouble.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does it mean to you when you hear that God is Majestic? Holy?
A friend was told he had a tumor. He had a choice to make. Will he undergo tough surgery to remove it, or just hope it might go away? This was Israel’s need in today’s reading. The Lord tells Joshua the people had sinned and taken things from Jericho, which He had told them to destroy – things ‘devoted’ to Him (11). Unless they dealt with this, and removed the evil within, they themselves would suffer the same fate (12).
The stakes are high. Through an exacting process, Achan is revealed (14–18). Observe how he was tempted – ‘I saw… I coveted… I took… I hid’ (21). The pattern that began in the Garden of Eden continues (Genesis 3:6–10).
The punishment is harsh (25,26). Yet Israel can now continue into the Promised Land.
As those under the new covenant, we can be thankful that God’s punishment of sin has been redirected from us (Romans 3:25,26). Yet we must ever be vigilant so that, like Achan, sin does not catch us. As Jesus reminds us, tough surgery is often the only way (Matthew 18:7–9).
Reflect on recent times where you ‘saw… coveted… took… hid’. Confess them to the Lord. If you sense the need, decide to talk to someone to whom you can be accountable.
Jesus, I want to be like You. Uncover anything in my life that is keeping me from walking more closely with You.
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