Bible Study

Bible Study Achan the Troublemaker in the Book of Joshua



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Disobedience is a like a disease. It is infectious. God does not always quarantine this disease; He sometimes kills it. God told the Israelites in the Bible Book of Joshua 6:18 (Amplified Bible), "But you, keep yourselves from the accursed and devoted things, lest when you have devoted it [to destruction], you take of the accursed thing, and so make the camp of Israel accursed and trouble it."

But one Israelite named Achan decided to disobey God and keep the accursed things which were certain material possessions. Achan, his family and all that he had was destroyed because of Achan's disobedient attitude and actions could have spread like a disease. Achan's story is not about the cost of the material possessions he stole, but the consequences of his actions.

God is not a respecter of persons. The non-Israelite people living in the promised land had to be destroyed for disobedience and so did the Israelites. God told the Israelites to "utterly exterminate them, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites . . . So that they may not teach you all the abominable practices they have carried on for their gods, and so cause you to sin against the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 20:17). The command to exterminate was not racial, ethnic or nationalistic, but a test of obedience to God.

Achan was judged faster for disobedience to God than the Israelites who wondered 40 years in the desert and never entered the promised land. Perhaps Achan's judgment was swifter because he had more knowledge. The Israelites coming out of Egypt had to be trained in the ways of God. The Israelites entering and conquering the promised land were to already be trained in the ways of God and training others in His ways. If you refuse to grow in God, your spiritual development does not stay at the same level, it actually regresses. The Bible is silent about Achan's behavior when the Israelites were crossing over the Jordan river. Perhaps his spiritual state was not fully tested. Perhaps Achan always had a problem with disobedience that was kept in check due to a lack of opportunity to express itself or a slow deterioration of character. Proverbs 4:23 (Amplified Bible) warns us to "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life."

Achan's disobedience infected the Israelites campaign to take the city of Ai. Instead of victoriously conquering Ai, thirty-six Israelites were killed and the Israelites ran from the people of Ai in defeat. Next time you think about disobeying God, consider who may suffer the consequences of your disobedience. If you choose to disobey God, you may destroy someone or something. Disobedience is sin. Sin is wrong thoughts and wrong behavior. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin are death. Death is not only eternity in hell, but destruction of someone or something on earth.

But thank God Jesus Christ has paid the debt owed for our disobedience and all sin. God is a multiple of one as in 1 X 1 X 1 = 1 (God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit). If your life is submitted to God, disobedience to God is covered by the forgiveness purchased by Jesus Christ through His death on a cross in Calvary, Israel, more than 2,000 years ago, and His resurrection from the dead three days later. Accept this forgiveness by repenting of your disobedience and let God turn it around into something beneficial.

One act of disobedience goes beyond committing one sin. Achan had to commit several sins to take the accursed things. He had to covet the material possessions; he had to disobey the command of God; he had to steal the accursed material passions; and he had to lie about having the material possessions. He committed a lie of omission. He also caused others to sin by letting the Israelites assume that they all were obedient to God regarding the accursed things, and Achan may have compelled family members to hide his sin. Remember one wrong thought or wrong behavior always requires another. I Peter 5:8-9 warns us to immediately flee from wrong thoughts and wrong behavior which are inspired by our human nature and Satan, the adversary of God and man. Immediate flight from sin can stop the spread of the disease of disobedience.

Achan, his family and his possessions did not have to be destroyed. The disease of disobedience could have been cured by repentance. But Achan even when confronted by Joshua about his disobedience did not repent.(God gave Achan the death sentence in advance of Joshua's confrontation of Achan because God already knew what Achan would do). If you do not repent and submit your life to God, you will die in hell. Death is not the absence of life; death is eternal torment. If your life is already submitted to God and you do not repent of known sin, that sin will act like a disease in your life. God gives us a free way out of sin but you have to operate in faith to work with God. Believers in God did not do any work to gain future access to heaven, nor did they do any work to have the power of God living on the inside of them. God did all the work, and He even gave us a unique faith to cooperate with the work of God. Faith is trust. Obedience also shows trust. You are manifesting a lack of faith in God, if you do not obey Him. You might want something intensely that God said "no" to, but seek God for the power to resist disobedience. God is a good God. When He says, "no" it is for your good. He has got something or someone better in mind. If God says "no" to obtaining a certain house, car, furniture, clothes, food or any other material thing, be wise enough to obey His "no," and ask Him for His best for you and the power of the Holy Spirit to seek His best. Do not be like Achan. Be determined not to succumb to the disease of disobedience.

More about this author: Michele Jackson

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