Joshua 7 is a difficult passage for many today. It clearly illustrates that it is a serious mistake to disobey clear guidance from the Lord. It has implications for you and for others around you. In this case it had implications for all Israel to some degree, but dramatic consequences for the offender and his household.
Today we are taught much about forgiveness and grace and mercy. Forgiveness and grace and mercy are not new. The Father did not suddenly acquire them and now never gets angry at his people for disobedience. He has always had these characteristics. That is why he always planned to send Yeshua for our sins. Still, there are clearly things, such as rebellion and intentionally living against his clear instruction, that anger or disappoint him… and there may be consequences. Think of our Father as just that… a father. He will discipline his children for their own benefit as a whole.
A Father’s Discipline
4You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;
5and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
6FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
7It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Let us not fool ourselves that somehow now that Yeshua has come, the Lord is never angered or disappointed by the conscious choice of his people to disobey him and instead accept the standards of the world. We even have the example of Yeshua getting angry in the temple and turning over tables as written in Matthew 21.
Israel Is Defeated at Ai
1But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel.
2Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.” 4So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. 5The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.
6Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. 7Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord GOD, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan! 8“O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies? 9“For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?”
10So the LORD said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? 11“Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. 12“Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst. 13“Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the LORD, the God of Israel, has said, “There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.” 14‘In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which the LORD takes shall come near by households, and the household which the LORD takes shall come near man by man. 15‘It shall be that the one who is taken with the things under the ban shall be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”
The Sin of Achan
16So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I implore you, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me.” 20So Achan answered Joshua and said, “Truly, I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.”
22So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was concealed in his tent with the silver underneath it. 23They took them from inside the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the sons of Israel, and they poured them out before the LORD. 24Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor. 25Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. 26They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day.
Prayerfully reflect on your life. Are there areas where you are not fully submitted to the Lord? Are there areas where you openly choose a different path than the instructions he has laid out for his people? Do not assume you are fully pleasing to him in that you say you accept Christ as savior. If you truly accept Christ as savior and lord, that means you submit to him and to his ways. You turn from your own ways and become more like him. Ask the Spirit to show you areas where you need to make a change and to help you with that change.
Repent, seek forgiveness, accept the consequences.
Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.