"And Achan answered Joshua, 'In truth, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and this have I done.'"
Joshua 7: 20
"Who Is Sin Against?"
"Our attitude towards sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned about our own 'victory' over sin than we are about the fact that our sin grieves the heart of God."
What do I think sin does to my relationship with others?
In what ways does sin hurt me?
How do I think sin affects my relationship with my Heavenly Father?
"All sin comes from not putting supreme value on the glory of God – this is the very essence of sin."
"Sin is cosmic treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself."
R. C. Sproul
For the next five days we are going to study two verses in Joshua 7. The first verse, Joshua 7: 20, is our text for today. Maybe you're saying to yourself, "Dorothy, aren't we studying the lives of all the women in the Bible?" My answer is, "Yes!" But let us never forget, many of the women, whose lives we study, had husbands and the same goes for the men, they had wives. What we find is that the intertwining of lives, often led to the betterment or the destruction not only of a single human relationship, but also of the relationships between spouses.
This principle is exemplified very clearly in the life of Achan and his wife and children. What's more, Achan's behavior pattern follows the path Eve chose to wander in the Garden of Eden and this is why it would do us well to focus on Achan's folly this week, because this is certainly an example of where history repeats itself over and over again, down to this very day.
In Joshua 20:7, Achan was confronted by Joshua with the fact he had been identified by God as the cause of the defeat in Ai for he specifically disobeyed God's direction that absolutely nothing was to be taken from Jericho because it was accursed. Everything in Jericho, except Rahab and her family, were doomed for destruction.
Joshua came to Achan, not after Achan confessed or repented, but only after the tribe, the family, right down to the household, had been pinpointed. It was only then, caught with the ill-gotten loot in his tent, Achan finally admitted what he had done wrong. Confronted by Joshua, Achan made a most interesting pronouncement. He said to Joshua, "I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel."
This is the first lesson in our study about the vile toxin we call sin. Sin isn't some little "gotcha game" we play with a cosmic father. Sin isn't some "boo-boo" like a spot on the wall. Nor, as Martin Luther stated, is sin, "a monster to be mused upon." I find the description by Erroll Hulse to be "right on" when he so vividly describes what sin is like: "Sin is like the poison of a mamba snake. It's exceedingly deadly. It kills. Every sin if permitted will become imperious in its demands and every lust will aim at its maximum expression. Sin is like the devil its originator. It is limitless in its capacity for evil."
This is why, in the Garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve to stay away from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is why God instructed the children of Israel to leave the loot in Jericho alone. God knew something you and I have so much trouble believing and it is this: sin causes death. Sin repeated is like a drop of acid on a piece of cloth, dripping away until the cloth is rotted completely. This is what sin does to our souls, and with time, the corrosive effects of sin can destroy our longing for something better. Theologian Karl Barth asked this question about sin. "Shall we call it our pride or our laziness, or shall we call it the deceit of our life? Let us call it (sin) for once the great defiance it is which turns us again and again into the enemies of God and of our fellowmen, even of our own selves."
If you think about these words for a moment, I know I don't want to ever find I am the enemy of God. How disasterous to be fighting on the team that is in open rebellion against a Father as kind and gracious as our Heavenly Father.
But this is exactly what sin is about. As Achan very correctly stated. "I have sinned against God."
Instead of thinking we're hurting ourselves, which we are, I wonder if every time we chose to sin we were confronted with a neon sign that said, "Sin Against God." Do you think your attitude and mine would change regarding sin? I know mine would.
Today, let us recognize the blessing of having a Father who not only warns us about the toxic effect of sin but then willingly gave you and me the ultimate gift, release from the chains that bind, for as C. S. Spurgeon so beautifully penned, "A sight of (Jesus') crucifixion, crucifies sin!"
Tomorrow, we will look at the four traps that lure us into the pit of sin. Unfortunately, these traps caught, Eve, Achan, David, Solomon, and a host of others in the Bible, and they're still catching you and me. But thank God, He has given us a way out. There's no trap too tough for Him to release us from.
"By the cross we know the gravity of sin and the greatness of God's love towards us."
"Wilt Thou not visit me?
The plant beside me feels Thy gentle dew.
And every blade of grass I see
From Thy deep earth its quickening moisture drew.
Wilt Thou not visit me?
Thy morning calls on me with cheering tone;
And every hill and tree
Lend but one voice – the voice of Thee alone.
Come, for I need Thy love,
More than the flower the dew or grass the rain;
Come, gently as Thy holy dove;
And let me in Thy sight rejoice to live again.
I will not hide from them
When Thy storms come, though fierce may be their wrath,
But bow with leafy stem,
And strengthened follow on Thy chosen path.
Yes, Thou wilt visit me:
Nor plant nor tree Thine eye delights so well.
As, when from sin set free,
My spirit loves with Thine in peace to dwell."