Joshua 7

* The Israelites smitten at Ai. (1-5) Joshua's humiliation and

prayer. (6-9) God instructs Joshua what to do. (10-5) Achan is

detected, He is destroyed. (16-26)

1-5 Achan took some of the spoil of Jericho. The love of the

world is that root of bitterness, which of all others is most

hardly rooted up. We should take heed of sin ourselves, lest by

it many be defiled or disquieted, #Heb 12:15|; and take heed of

having fellowship with sinners, lest we share their guilt. It

concerns us to watch over one another to prevent sin, because

others' sins may be to our damage. The easy conquest of Jericho

excited contempt of the enemy, and a disposition to expect the

Lord to do all for them without their using proper means. Thus

men abuse the doctrines of Divine grace, and the promises of

God, into excuses for their own sloth and self-indulgence. We

are to work out our own salvation, though it is God that works

in us. It was a dear victory to the Canaanites, whereby Israel

was awakened and reformed, and reconciled to their God, and the

people of Canaan hardened to their own ruin.
6-9 Joshua's concern for the honour of God, more than even for

the fate of Israel, was the language of the Spirit of adoption.

He pleaded with God. He laments their defeat, as he feared it

would reflect on God's wisdom and power, his goodness and

faithfulness. We cannot at any time urge a better plea than

this, Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name? Let God be

glorified in all, and then welcome his whole will.
10-15 God awakens Joshua to inquiry, by telling him that when

this accursed thing was put away, all would be well. Times of

danger and trouble should be times of reformation. We should

look at home, into our own hearts, into our own houses, and make

diligent search to find out if there be not some accursed thing

there, which God sees and abhors; some secret lust, some

unlawful gain, some undue withholding from God or from others.

We cannot prosper, until the accursed thing be destroyed out of

our hearts, and put out of our habitations and our families, and

forsaken in our lives. When the sin of sinners finds them out,

God is to be acknowledged. With a certain and unerring judgment,

the righteous God does and will distinguish between the innocent

and the guilty; so that though the righteous are of the same

tribe, and family, and household with the wicked, yet they never

shall be treated as the wicked.
16-26 See the folly of those that promise themselves secrecy in

sin. The righteous God has many ways of bringing to light the

hidden works of darkness. See also, how much it is our concern,

when God is contending with us, to find out the cause that

troubles us. We must pray with holy Job, Lord, show me wherefore

thou contendest with me. Achan's sin began in the eye. He saw

these fine things, as Eve saw the forbidden fruit. See what

comes of suffering the heart to walk after the eyes, and what

need we have to make this covenant with our eyes, that if they

wander they shall be sure to weep for it. It proceeded out of

the heart. They that would be kept from sinful actions, must

mortify and check in themselves sinful desires, particularly the

desire of worldly wealth. Had Achan looked upon these things

with an eye of faith, he would have seen they were accursed

things, and would have dreaded them; but looking on them with an

eye of sense only, he saw them as goodly things, and coveted

them. When he had committed the sin, he tried to hide it. As

soon as he had got this plunder, it became his burden, and he

dared not to use his ill-gotten treasure. So differently do

objects of temptation appear at a distance, to what they do when

they have been gotten. See the deceitfulness of sin; that which

is pleasing in the commission, is bitter in the reflection. See

how they will be deceived that rob God. Sin is a very

troublesome thing, not only to a sinner himself, but to all

about him. The righteous God will certainly recompense

tribulation to them that trouble his people. Achan perished not

alone in his sin. They lose their own, who grasp at more than

their own. His sons and daughters were put to death with him. It

is probable that they helped to hide the things; they must have

known of them. What fatal consequences follow, even in this

world, to the sinner himself, and to all belonging him! One

sinner destroys much good. What, then, will be the wrath to

come? Let us flee from it to Christ Jesus as the sinner's

Friend. There are circumstances in the confession of Achan,

marking the progress of sin, from its first entrance into the

heart to its being done, which may serve as the history of

almost every offence against the law of God, and the sacrifice

of Jesus Christ.

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