Day 8

Achan’s Disobedience

from the Joshua reading plan


Joshua 7:1-26, Deuteronomy 9:26-29, Hosea 2:15, James 1:19-25

BY Tameshia Williams

My sisters and I dreaded certain family meetings when we were teenagers. For these talks, Dad would call us into the living room because one of us had broken a major rule, though my parents couldn’t clearly identify the culprit. Our comfy, blue couch became a witness stand with throw pillows, with Dad and Mom acting as both judge and prosecutor. “How did that dent get there on the side of your mother’s car?” “To whom do these cigarettes belong?” No matter who the offender was, none of us looked forward to our parents’ disappointment—or their punishment. 

The children of Israel found themselves in a similar, yet far more serious situation. Achan’s greed led to his disobedience, and his disobedience brought tragedy to Israel, starting with their defeat in the battle at Ai (Joshua 7:5). Joshua was sorrowful, and the Lord was displeased, requiring the people to present themselves before Him: “Go and consecrate the people,” the Lord told Joshua (v.13). Israel was to prepare for God’s presence, and then He would address the offense and the offending party. Achan’s desire for things God had forbidden caused him to hide stolen items. The irony is that Achan had stolen in a land already promised to him and his fellow citizens. God had a great inheritance in store for them that included cattle and other riches. But Achan wanted things his way and in his time: “I coveted them and took them” (v.21).

How often have we been like Achan? Sometimes, we desire things so badly that we resort to getting them by any means necessary, cutting corners or engaging in activities that teeter on the ethical borderline. We reason that if it’s just for me, no one has to know.

But God sees all and knows all. He didn’t bring the children of Israel before Him so that He could discover who had sinned. Achan’s rebellion had affected the entire community, and God refused to move forward until it had been acknowledged publicly. We hardly ever realize the far-reaching consequences that come about because of our disobedience. The consequences of Achan’s sin were a message to Israel, reminding them of the graveness of disobeying God’s instruction. Achan was buried in the Valley of Achor, which means “valley of trouble.” From then on, that place has been permanently linked to his tragic story.

The story of Achan’s disobedience remains a sobering narrative, but it’s more than a cautionary tale of the tragedy that can occur when the Lord’s commands are disobeyed. It’s an opportunity to confess our sins to the Lord and lament over the ways we still aren’t trusting Him. But we aren’t meant to wallow in guilt. The beauty of His grace is that we can admit our brokenness and shortcomings, and He refuses to turn away from us. Instead, He invites us to lean in closer, trusting Him to make us whole. 

Post Comments (84)

84 thoughts on "Achan’s Disobedience"

  1. Rachel Linch says:

    Thank you for sharing! This is helpful for me since I’m really trying to process the intensity of today’s passage.

  2. Bonnie Rives says:

    Help please! How do I highlight and take notes on the app?

  3. Nancy Hoffman says:

    We can admit our brokenness and shortcomings and God refuses to turn away from us.

  4. Mercy says:

    What I see here is God is righteous and strict with his rules. If there are violations, God surely will call them out. He teaches, He corrects. If He does not expose the wrongs, that will make God unjust. Don’t you agree? It is so tragic how Achan’s covetousness blinded him at such a high cost. Warnings were given, all gold and silver will go to the Lord’s treasury. Yet disobedience comes, rooting from the love of money.

    For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and PIERCED themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10). And the grieves this brought are surely many, including Achan’s own life and his family’s lives, besides the 36 men who died in the Ai battle (for which their wives, children, parents grieve over the 36 sons/fathers/ husbands).

    The thing that jumped out to me is, how God says, “Neither will I be with you anymore, except you destroy the accursed from among you” (Joshua 7:12 KJV). God is about to withdraw Himself. I pray that we know this truth, that no matter how appealing the worldly treasures appear to be, please know they will not be as precious as the presence of God in our lives. If you have God, you have everything, far above all the treasures of Heavens and earth combined. He alone is the gold and silver that we should seek to have. Praying for all the prayer requests posted here dear sisters. I pray this verse over you, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears; He delivers them from all their troubles” Psalm 34:17. God is the God of both valleys and mountains, of both highs and lows, He will give us strength.

  5. Kaitlyn Mutchler says:

    I have a hard time reading about God’s wrath as I was wonder why God did not show Achan mercy when he confessed his sins. I think this may highlight a sort of privilege we have as believers in Christ. I don’t know if this makes sense, but if we know what God expects of us and blatantly ignore it we are like the one who looks at himself in the mirror and immediately forgets the kind of person he was (James 1:24). God calls us to be a doer and not just a forgetful hearer (James 1:25). I also think this situation just exaggerates the great mercy God has bestowed upon us by sending his Son to die for our sins. Also when reading the differences between Achan and Rahab in the study book, it really stood out to me that Achan confessed sinning against God, while Rahab confessed belief in the God of Israelites. It brought to mind Romans 10:9 “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”

  6. Linda King says:

    1st of all I got really excited to see Tameshia’s name. It’s not often that I see someone from my hometown of E. St. Louis, Illinois. When I first studied this story I too questioned why God destroyed everything that belonged to Achan. It seemed harsh to me. As I looked at the scripture, I also looked at notes I’d written in the margin of my Bible. 1) Sin is not a petty matter to God. 2) Achan had all night to think about and admit his guilt. This lets me know that God is serious about sin. We need to remember that.

  7. Noelle Worm says:

    No matter how many times I read/study this story it does not get easier. But remember that it took only One to save us all.

  8. Christine Synowiec says:

    It wouldn’t be keeping His word. They were warned beforehand.

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