Joshua 7:16-26

Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was taken. The clans of Judah came forward, and he took the Zerahites. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was taken. Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.

Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me."

Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."

So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the LORD.

Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today."

Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.

This passage illuminated two important points for me about sin and consequences. Firstly, one strucking thing about the whole episode is that it was only when Achan was singled out and exposed that he confessed and admitted his sin. Though not to condemn him and other sinners like him, when we see it, it sometimes becomes like this for a lot of us. For Achan, it took deaths and distress in his community before he was singled out by God. A lot of times, we have hidden sins that God will single us out one day for rebuke and correction. It makes me want to reflect more on myself. But it brings out the importance of accountability, most importantly to God and His appointed leaders. And perhaps Achan had previous misconceptions that he sinned in the way that he did. The bible makes it clear that the route to sin is not a sudden thing. Most likely there were certain issues not dealt properly in his life that led to this hideous sin which temporary devastated Israel. We need to be more aware and be more courageous to face these issues and not run away from these issues.

Secondly, notice that Achan's family was punished along with him. Why? As I was thinking, the amount of wealth he looted was substantial enough that his family must have known. I think I can also safely assume that the whole Israel were aware of God's command regarding Jericho. The fact Achan had to be exposed means that his family had kept the knowledge secret, thus making them fellow sinners with Achan. Again, we see the consequence of non-accountability. Sometimes, I was thinking, we need to be accountable on what other people tell us also. There are things that cannot simply be kept secret. I remember there were times when I was told by a friend of mine regarding some friends who have issue in church but he simply refused to reveal the names of the people (though I know who they are). Is this considered accountability? If Achan's family had done something about what he did, perhaps the end result might have turned out better for them.

At the end of the day, we need to be transparent to God and transparent to the people overseeing us. Are you, today, finding it difficult to be accountable to your spiritual leader?


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