"…Behold, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver beneath."
Joshua 7: 21
"Trap #4: I Hid"
"All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into things."
Is there something hidden in the "tent" of my life that is blocking my relationship with God?
"Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself."
"Every Scripture is God-breathed, given by His inspiration and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience and training in righteousness, in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action."
II Timothy 3; 16
During the last few days we have been studying about Achen -- one of Israel's soldiers, who in direct disobedience to God's warning that all in Jericho was accursed, made the personal choice to look upon Jericho's loot with a covetous eye, to take this forbidden bounty and to hide it in his home – the tent where he and his family lived.
The reason we are studying each step on the path of Achan's downward descent is that these are the identical steps taken by Eve in the Garden of Eden and by King David when he took another man's wife and even by Judas who betrayed the Son of God. I saw, I coveted, I took, I hid.
Paul, when writing to his spiritual son, Timothy, told him that every word of Scripture is inspired. Furthermore, Paul stressed the fact that the words of Scripture, all of them, are there for our "instruction." In other words, Paul was telling Timothy that there is something for us to learn from every story and every example in the Bible, from the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Trap #4, as noted today, is revealed not only by what Achan did, but also by the behavior of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
In Genesis, God came in the "cool of the evening" to walk and talk with His created pair. But on one sad day, when the time for God's appointment arrived, Adam and Eve were no where to be found. Genesis 3: 9, 10 contains a record of a very heart-breaking conversation between God and Adam. "But the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?' (Adam) said, 'I heard the sound of You walking in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself.'" I feel like crying when I read these words. Can you imagine what this scene was like? God, who had created the earth and Adam and Eve, who loved them because they were His own children – came to meet with His precious son and daughter and they chose to hide from Him because they were afraid. They feared their own Father. Not because of what God had done but instead because of what they had done. Author Lemuel B. Haynes wrote that, "Had the devil come to our first parents personally and unmasked, they would have more easily seen the deception." But the devil, the wily serpent, came as an allurement, something pleasing to the eye, something to be desired and Eve and Adam, both, took the bait. Finding themselves in the position of taking the "accursed," they hid. This is exactly what Achan did. He went home carrying the ill-gotten plunder of Jericho and he carved out a place under his family's dwelling where he hid the spoils of victory. Except you see, the victory in Jericho wasn't Achan's to take from. Nothing from winning this battle belonged to him, for it was totally God's victory. This is where we come full circle in the story of Achan. The first day of our study on Achan we read that when confronted with his evil deed, Achan admitted to Joshua he had, "sinned against the Lord" (Joshua 7: 20).
When you and I make a choice to see – to let our eyes linger where they should not, to covet – to desire and long for what is not ours; and to take – to claim as ours what is accursed – we want to hide because the relationship with our Father has been broken, not by Him but by the choices we have made.
The great English playwright, William Shakespeare penned these enlightening words: "For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, who art as black as hell, as dark as night." This is what happened to Achan. He was deceived by the prospect of something better.
I don't believe Achan went to Jericho with the intention to steal and to destroy his life, just as I don't think Eve intentionally wandered off to the tree of knowledge of good and evil, with the desire to disobey God.
But when confronted by the lust of the eyes and the desires of the heart, we all have the potential to deceive ourselves into believing that what God has forbidden, what God has called accursed, isn't so bad after all.
As we reflect on the steps toward destruction in Achan's journey, may you and I learn from his life and through the power of God ask for clarity of mind, singleness of purpose, and wholeness of heart.
"No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of truth."
"When I want to run – hold me.
When I want to turn away – turn me round.
When I want to hide – race me to my hiding place and win.
When I want to hurt others – deflect my aim.
When I want to hurt myself – love me.
When I cry – grab me quickly
and rock me safely
in your strong arms."