Lent 2022 Day 20

Lent 2022 Day 20

Thu 24 Mar

Joshua 7:11-26(excerpts) After Jericho – Achan's sin

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 any more unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

16 Early the next morning Joshua made Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was chosen. 17 The clans of Judah came forward, and the Zerahites were chosen. He made the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was chosen. 18 Joshua made 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 honour 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, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.’

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 ever since.

This is a tough story, and it may challenge your sense of God’s goodness. Remember, however, that God is good, but he is also holy and righteous.

Jericho had fallen, and God had commanded that it be destroyed, along with all the people, bar a few who aided the Israelites, and all the animals. All of the plunder was taken to the treasury of the Tent of Meeting. The plunder belonged to God and not the Israelites.

One man had taken some of it for himself. Achan couldn’t resist the lure of a robe and some gold and silver, but God knew, and God was not going to be short-changed. God is angry, very angry that someone from his people had coveted what was God’s alone. He withdraws his support of the army and they are thrashed in their next foray.

Joshua realises that God has let his men be beaten. Like Moses had done before him when there was trouble, Joshua falls on his face before God. Had Joshua not listened to God correctly? Had he been proud? Had he taken some of the glory? Was he impure before God? Read Chapter 7 to follow up on the interchange between God and Joshua, and how God prepared the people for the event we read today.

God’s righteousness is not impugned by anyone, Israel or its enemies. In order to cleanse the people of the sin of Achan, there is a root and branch clearing out of the whole family of Achan, as well as his possessions, so that his name and line was completely erased. Sins of the fathers.

Do you know how Jericho got rebuilt? Try a search.

Is God angry today? What might incite God’s anger?

Could the Church misappropriate for itself what belongs to God?

Father God, you are righteous and jealous of that which is yours. Teach me that everything I have comes from you, and your desire is to bless me beyond measure. I re-commit my life to you in Jesus, and hand to you that which is yours, as you pour your blessings on me. Amen.

There are not many upbeat songs that feature Achan, so here is a lament: