In Joshua 6 when God’s people were defeating Jericho, the first stop on their way of conquering the land God had for them, God laid out a simple rule.
“As for you, keep away from the things devoted to destruction, so as not to covet and take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel an object for destruction, bringing trouble upon it.” (Joshua 6:18).
When God’s people conquered Jericho, they were instructed not to take anything with them. They were to leave it all behind. However, as we keep reading in the book of Joshua we find that Achan just cannot hep himself. It turns out, he took a few things, and he had to pay the price for it.
“And Achan answered Joshua, ‘It is true; I am the one who sinned against the Lord God of Israel. This is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them and took them. They now lie hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.’” (Joshua 7:21-22).
Achan did not just take one thing. He took a lot of things, and his punishment for his disobedience was death. As we look at this story today, I must confess to you that a part of me really aches for Achan. Right after he was put to death, in the very next battle the Israelites fought and won guess what…they get to keep the items in the city they capture for themselves.
“Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed; take all the fighting men with you, and go up now to Ai. See, I have handed over to you the king of Ai with his people, his city, and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king; only its spoil and its livestock you may take as booty for yourselves. Set an ambush against the city, behind it.’” (Joshua 8:1-2).
Literally, the very next verse after Achan died, the people were given these instructions. I mean what a shame for Achan. If he had just waited, just obeyed, just followed God’s plan. He could have gotten some of the booty from the land.
Many times in our own lives we are like Achan. We have a desire that we feel like God is not meeting fast enough. We have a need we feel God is not fixing fast enough. We have a problem God is not solving fast enough. Then we feel the need to take matters into our own hands to get what we want, even if it means going against God’s instructions. We may think it is no big deal. Maybe you think God forgot about you. You might even justify taking matters into your own hands.
However, if we learn anything from the story of Achan, it is this. We must be obedient to God, trust in the Lord’s timing, and realize that God’s plan is always far better than our own. Whatever you are “Achan” for today, remember to trust God. Know that God will bless you and fulfill His plan and purpose in His own perfect timing. So put on your patient pants, pray, pause, and get ready for God’s perfect plan answer to your inquiry exceeding your expectations of how life should go.
“For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the sword, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their booty, according to the word of the Lord that he had issued to Joshua. So Joshua burned Ai, and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day.”