Joshua – Lesson 8

Joshua Chapter 7:1-26



Last week we saw the nation of Israel conquer the city of Jericho by one of the strangest military maneuvers ever accomplished. Remember how they quietly walked around the great walled city of Jericho one time each day for six days. Then on the seventh day, they marched around it 7 times, and when the priests blew the trumpet, the people let out a great shout and the walls just came tumbling down. Strange way to take a city, but the people followed God's leading, and just as promised, they easily took the city. This week, we see the great progress that was started come to a halt due to one man's sin.

We saw at the end of chapter 6 that the accomplishments of Joshua and the nation of Israel spread throughout the land.

Josh 6:27 So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.

When God fights your battles, lots of people hear of your fame.

I. Sin in the Camp

Josh 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.

We see that one man brings a whole nation down by committing a trespass. When we are in prosperous times, like these people were right after the taking of Jericho, we must guard against letting Satan take us by some snare.

2 Pet 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

2 Pet 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Paul knew the danger of preaching to others and not controlling his own self.

1 Cor 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Sometimes when things are going the very best is when we forget the Lord.

Psa 2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

Psa 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Deu 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

We must all constantly be on guard, that we never lightly esteem the Rock of our salvation.

One man, Achan, was guilty of taking that which was consecrated unto the Lord. Note that for some reason, God gives us the genealogy of Achan, which means it was important. God does not put words in the Bible for no reason. We note that Achan was the descendant of "Zerah", and he was the son of Judah's whoredom.

Gen 38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.

Gen 38:16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?

Gen 38:17 And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it?

Gen 38:18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.


Gen 38:26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.

Gen 38:27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.

Gen 38:28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.

Gen 38:29 And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.

Gen 38:30 And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.

The sins of the fathers were visited upon the children. It is interesting how that God did not say that one of the children had committed a trespass, but says "the children of Israel committed a trespass. Sometimes we get grouped together, and when we sin, we bring reproach upon the whole group. If you or I commit a horrible sin, does it reflect on our church? You bet it does. The same is true when we lead consecrated, holy lives for God. It brings great honor and glory to the Heavenly Father.


II. The Town of Ai

Josh 7:2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.

Ai was a place of sacred memories, for we are told in Gen. 12:8 that Abraham built an altar there.

Gen 12:8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

At this time this territory was occupied by the wicked and marked for destruction. From the verses, we can see that Joshua did not know about the sin of Achan.

Josh 7:3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.

It was good that the men carried out Joshua's orders, but it was not their responsibility to tell him how many to send up to take the city. Their plan, as it turned out, was not God's chosen way to take Ai.

Deu 11:22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;

Deu 11:23 Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.

Obedience is the foremost responsibility of the child of God. God is much more pleased when we obey Him rather than offering sacrifices for sin. In Joshua 8:1, we see God's plan on how to take the city.

Josh 8:1 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:

We see the right way, God's way, was to take all the people of war with him. Because they were God's chosen people and a strong nation, they thought none can stand before them. But without the presence of God, they were not that formidable. The hidden cause of failure in Israel's attempt to take Ai was the sin of Achan. Because he had coveted a certain garment and some gold bars, he brings reproach upon himself and his people. This failure in battle would reflect upon the name of Joshua. When you and I sin, we bring reproach not only upon ourselves, but upon our church, and ultimately upon our Lord.

1 Cor 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

III. How Secret Sin affects God's People


The defeat at Ai affected the whole entire nation. Over in Numbers Chapter 14, we see another record when Israel suffered defeat. It was during the time when they refused to listen to Moses.

Num 14:41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.

Num 14:42 Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.

Num 14:43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.

Num 14:44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.

Num 14:45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.

If we want to win the battles in this life, we must learn to do things God's way. We may not understand, we may not even agree with God's leader, but we need to follow and trust that the Heavenly Father knows even better than we.

Josh 7:4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.

Josh 7:5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.

Josh 7:6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.

Joshua waited until the evening hour to come to God with the matter.

Josh 7:7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!

Joshua is a bit disillusioned at this point and understands not why God let them suffer this defeat. Sounds a bit like some other verses in Deut. 1:27-32

Deu 1:27 And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.

Deu 1:28 Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.

Deu 1:29 Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.

Deu 1:30 The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;

Deu 1:31 And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.

Deu 1:32 Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,

The people accused Moses for bringing them up out of Egypt to be delivered unto the hands of the Amorites. But note the reason… YE DID NOT BELIEVE THE LORD YOUR GOD. Most of our failures come down to a simple lack of faith.

Achan's sin greatly affected Joshua, and it appears that he slipped a bit from his spiritual position to a fleshly position looking at things from man's perspective. That is easy to do when things go wrong. But in that hour, we need to trust God even more.

Joshua's prayers certainly go through to God. Note verse 8

Josh 7:8 O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!

Joshua loved the nation that he led, but he knew there was nothing that he could say on their behalf that would excuse their cowardly defeat.

Josh 7:9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?

Joshua points out the reproach which would be cast upon God were the Canaanites to triumph over Israel.


IV. God's Command to Joshua

Josh 7:10 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?

God was not mincing words with Joshua. He pretty much said get up and get with the program. There are times when we need to be humble, and then there are times when we need to be strong and fight like men. Even Christ showed force when he overthrew the moneychangers tables when they came and made the temple into a house of merchandise.

John 2:14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

John 2:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;

John 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

John 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

God had work for Joshua to do, and God was about to give him directions to do the work.


V. The Charge Made to Deal with Sin in the Camp

Josh 7:11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.

Josh 7:12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.

The people had transgressed my covenant which I have commanded them.

In Revelation, God had some things against the church at Pergamos.

Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Rev 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

Rev 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

You and I need to be people of love, showing the love and compassion of God. In like manner, we should hate all sin. The things God hates, those things we should be against also.

Verse 12 shows the results of the sin upon Israel. In order to have God with them, they were required to destroy Achan and his family. This was carrying out the penalty for breaking the 8th commandment of God.

Exo 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.

The penalty for breaking the law was death. Are you glad you live today during the time of the Dispensation of Grace versus their time which was called the Dispensation of the Law. Did God hate sin more in the Old Testament times than He does today? No, he still hates it the same. He just shows unbelievable grace and mercy to us today. I thank God for that.

Josh 7:13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.

The people were commanded to sanctify themselves and take away the cursed thing from among them.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

John 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

John 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Today, we are sanctified and set apart by the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the truth of God's Word, he cleanses, purifies, and sanctifies us to be vessels mete for the Master's use.


V. The Guilty Pointed out by the Lord

We find that God was the one who would point out the guilty party.

Josh 7:14 In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.

Josh 7:15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.

The Lord did not point out Achan immediately. The one who was pointed out was to be burned with fire. This was not a mob lynching type thing were you tied him to the stake and burned him. They were commanded to stone them to death and then to burn the bodies. This was done so that no accursed thing would remain.

Josh 7:16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:

Josh 7:17 And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken:

Josh 7:18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.

The tribe of Judah was taken. I'm sure this came as a great shock to that tribe as a whole and to Joshua himself. Great things had been foretold of Judah, and you would not expect the offending party to be of this tribe.

Gen 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.

Gen 49:9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

Gen 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Gen 49:11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

Gen 49:12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

Gen 49:13 Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.

Gen 49:14 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:

Gen 49:15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.

Gen 49:16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.

Gen 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

Gen 49:18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.

Gen 49:19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

Judah was to be the royal and ruling tribe. But no royalty by blood ever guarantees that the person will be good. That is an individual decision each man and woman makes in life.

Exo 31:2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:

Exo 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

Exo 31:4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,

Exo 31:5 And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.

We see in Exodus that a special man of the tribe of Judah was given great ability to do great skilled work in connection with furnishing the tabernacle.

In verse 19, we see that Achan was quiet through all of the proceedings.

Josh 7:19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.


VI. Sin Through the Lust of the Eye

Josh 7:20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:

Josh 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.

Josh 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it.

Josh 7:23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD.

We know that it was through the eye that sin was first started with Adam and Eve.

Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:16 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.

1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

To lay the thing before all of Israel was done in order that the evidence of Achan's sin should be laid before the eyes of the whole nation. You and I need to not hide sin in our lives, because one day all will be revealed. The Bible says that our sins will find us out.

Josh 7:24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.

Josh 7:25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.

Josh 7:26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

We see that they raised up a heap of stones where they stoned Achan and his family. We need to learn from this that to sin against God is wrong, and serious consequences result. May we all be people who care and turn from evil.

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