The story of Achan, his sin, and its impact upon the nation of Israel is found in Joshua, chapter 7.  To get some background, let’s go back to Joshua, chapter 6.  Verse 2 says, “And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.”  The Lord was with His people in their victory, and He guaranteed victory to them.  I encourage you to read this entire chapter and learn the details of this mighty victory against Jericho.  The Lord had warned in grave and stern words against anyone taking any valuables of Jericho and keeping them for themselves.  We read in verses 18-19, “And ye, in any wise KEEP YOURSELVES FROM THE ACCURSED THING, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.”

Joshua 7:1 shows us that one man did not heed the Lord’s warning.  That says, “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.”

Verses 4-9 show us how Israel lost 36 men in battle with Ai and had to flee.  Joshua was very discouraged by this and complained before the Lord, realizing that other nations would view Israel as being weak and easily defeated.  It was at this point that the Lord revealed to him the ‘hidden sin’ of Achan.  We read in verses 11-12, “Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.”

Although we are not told how Joshua determined it was Achan that had sinned, he identified him and told him to confess his sin.  Achan’s confession is very telling, for it tells of things that are in all our hearts at times.  He said in Joshua 7:21, “When I SAW among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I COVETED them, and TOOK them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”  Achan SAW, he COVETED, and he TOOK!  Doesn’t this remind you of the sin of Eve in the Garden of Eden?  Indeed, it is a root of sin that we often give into.

Joshua sent men to find the articles in Achan’s tent, which they found and brought to Joshua.  Verses 24-25 tell us, “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. 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.”

The Lord had warned the people that this type of sin would “make the camp of Israel a curse.”  He then instructed Joshua to “destroy the accursed from among you.”  How awful sin is in the sight of God.  There is no escape for one who is still in his sins.  Achan’s life, and the lives of his family, was taken because of his sin (certainly his family knew of his sin), but we believe his soul was saved because of his legitimate confession of his sin.  We also see how that ALL BELIEVERS are impacted by the sins in each other’s lives.  Unjudged sin results in others being influenced and drawn into sin themselves.  It can have a devastating impact on our fellow believers if we fall into sin.  May we all take into consideration this ‘sin of Achan’ and strive to sin not against our Lord.  Our sins have such a great and negative impact upon us AND our fellow believers.  (218.10)