Sherlock Holmes was famous for solving mysteries. The fictional character first appeared in 1887, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The hero used his acute observation skills to solve difficult crime cases. In today’s reading, Joshua had a mystery to solve. Who had stolen the devoted items from Jericho?
Achan admitted that he had taken the spoils of battles and confessed his actions. Joshua then confirmed Achan’s guilt by locating the stolen goods (v. 22) and bringing everyone to the Valley of Achor (v. 24). Joshua’s question in verse 25 brought insight into the consequence that would take place. Achan’s actions would result in his own death and the deaths of his family. Many would agree that Achan deserved to be punished, but why was the penalty so brutal? In addition, why was his family included (v. 25)? It is important to remember that Achan’s sin, most likely with approval from his family, cost the lives of many who died at Ai. God was teaching His people that if Israel was going to inherit the Promised Land, they were to be fully obedient to Him. They must obey God every step of the way; there was no exception.
The actions of Achan stand in stark contrast to Rahab. In both narratives, destruction and salvation came through one person’s actions. Similarly, sin and death entered into our world through one man, Adam, but salvation came solely through Jesus (Rom. 5:12–21). When we read Achan’s story, it is easy to see our own sin and fate. But like Rahab, our lives are spared through God’s grace.
>> It is easy to read about Achan’s story and think, “How could he do such an evil thing? I would never do that.” But in our consumeristic world, our eyes often wander. Covetousness lurks behind every corner. We must be careful not to fall into the same trap. Honor God with your possessions and your self-restraint.