Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Achan’s Folly

Israel has come into the land to inherit God’s Promise to them….and the first obstacle was the fortress city of Jericho.

This was an impossibility! Yet God gave them a miraculous victory.

This was the first battle….therefore the Lord gave certain requirements concerning the things found in the city….

Joshua 6:17-19 “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord:….

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 “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing:…”

First, I want to explain “foolishness”…..it means to be perverse, to act in silliness or to choose to let our emotions rule, when we know better.

Psalm 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God, they are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good”

(Most believe that it says in the original…”The fool hath said in his heart, No, God,..”)

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

(We often are unaware of the definitions of God’s Word. We think their meaning is the way we use them now.

The way we think of “fool” now is that they are stupid, or that they blindly follow their idea….which could be good…

But “fool” in the Bible, means one who has despised God’s character and law….and acts from that motive.)

Achan was an Israelite, of the tribe of Judah. He had a family, and cattle, and goods.

He has seen the bondage of Egypt as a child,….

…the wilderness wanderings and the Lord dealing with His people,…

….and was among those that crossed the Jordan,……dry shod.

He had heard the instructions of Joshua to the people as how they were to see the fortress of Jericho destroyed….

….and the warnings of what to stay away from.

He walked around Jericho for seven days, till they shouted on the last day, when the walls fell down flat.

He had witnessed, for himself, a lot of miracles….yet…

…..with all that knowledge of God, and His power for His people….

…..still he gave into his lust, when he was tempted…(James 1:14-15)

Joshua 7:1 “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan,….of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.”

But it is not the affect that Achan’s sin had on Israel that I want to speak of….but the damage that it caused his own soul….and the damage to his family.

So let us look at what tempted him:

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.”

A Babylonian garment….luxurious and grand….something to make him look like “Somebody”.

(To be able to walk around feeling as good, or better than others.)

A bag of silver….here is the spending money he has always wanted! He could take a little of it and buy anything he wanted.

(To be able to gratify his desire….now.)

A wedge of gold….wealth. It was not something he could carry in his pocket to use for buying and selling….but it was something to be put up….for prestige and collateral.

(To be able to rest content…thinking he was “kept” by it, for years to come.)

All of these have to do with Achan’s personality….as all our temptations come from what we “lust” after.

Achan is unsatisfied with the way things are going….

Perhaps he is unhappy about waiting to get “what is mine”…..his inheritance.

Perhaps it is just a “sample” of his inheritance that he wants….

Perhaps it is desire for prestige and importance…..

…..for the Babylonian garment is named first….

“Boy, wouldn’t I look grand in that….just like the landowner I will be soon!”

(And how often are we concerned with what the world values?

1 John 2:16-17 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

And the world passeth away, and the lusts thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”)

Achan is unhappy with God’s Will….for all the first battles’s goods will go to the Lord. (Like the tithe and offerings we give…..Him first.)

Achan is someone who feels that God’s requirements are too harsh…….God should not demand “so much”.

(Have not we felt the same way, at times?)

Yet, had he ever been without supplies….for him, his family, or animals?….no.

Has he been promised a place, an inheritance,….for him and his family?….yes.

Hadn’t God fought for them against the greatest nation of the world…Egypt; and against the Amalekites….and even now, makes the walls of this huge city fall down?…..yes.

What did he lack?

(This is a question we should all ask ourselves….when we are tempted.)

Now when Achan looked down as he was fighting in Jericho….and saw the Babylonian garment, the silver, and the gold….

….it was not just these things…….but what he imagined for himself, with them.

Then, he said, “No, God.”

And his folly led him to take what was to be hallowed to the Lord….for himself.

Worse,…..he drew his family into his folly, when he came back to camp….and hid these things in his tent….under the blankets there…

….because they would have known….so he made them guilty with him.

(They could have come and told the leaders….or priests, to get forgiveness and guidance….yet they kept silence.

Their silence to his guilt….made them guilty, too.)

Sin begets sin.

For this folly, Achan…..and his family…..and all that he had was destroyed…..for he had made them a curse. (Joshua 7:24-26)

Now, let’s look at God’s provision for His people….His general way of dealing with us.

Isaiah 30:18 “And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgement: blessed are all they that wait for Him.”

(As we have mentioned before “judgement” means He weighs the righteous and obedient….and the wicked and disobedient)

The Lord’s Word is a place of shelter, a place of comfort, a place of joy….and yes, a place of judgement.

For it shows us…..us.

What we do with that knowledge makes all the difference.

What we do after that, makes all the difference!

Will we obey His Will?

What do we think of our Lord?

Achan should have waited on the Lord.

He should have reasoned with his lust and said….”No, Achan. (Instead of No God)….I do not know what God will give me….but I will trust Him to do the right thing.”

If he had, he would have had a whole lot more than what he foolishly took….and be blessed in having it!

For God had the spoil of the next city and all the rest of the places to be divided among the people.

(Joshua 8:2, 27. It is recorded twice that we should not miss the significance of it.)

Joshua 8:27 “Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves according unto the word of the Lord which He commanded Joshua.”

God had plenty for Achan….and for all Israel….but they were to honor Him first….while trusting in Him for the rest.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

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