At first glance, this passage is one of sorrow and pain. Joshua chapter seven provides us with the first account of blatant disobedience in the Promised Land. This act of disobedience impacted not only the transgressor, Achan, but also his family and nation. God’s righteous anger burned against the people as He watched sinful behavior once again rear its head. God’s covenant with His people consisted of not only blessings but also curses. This chapter highlights the tragic solution of the sin problem that Achan had. Ultimately, he and his family lost their lives because of his covetous attitude and choices. I’m sure at the time, Achan probably justified his disobedience much the same way we do. “Well, no one is perfect.” “I’m not hurting anyone else.” “It’s just this one time.” Those thoughts that help us justify our disobedient behavior may really make us feel better. However, as Achan learned, our God is holy and just. What makes this passage so dark is that we can all relate to Achan in his moment of weakness. He has been fully blessed by God but chooses to reach for more. We know that we can never be good enough to deserve God’s love or attention. We know that we possess a sin nature that separates us from a perfect God. Those facts in and of themselves are excruciating. However, that’s not all we know! Fast forward to Romans and we can also know that God’s wrath is satisfied when sin is properly dealt with. For Achan, that meant death. For us, that means Jesus!
For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.Romans 3:22b-25
Once Achan’s sin was dealt with and a punishment was paid, God’s favor was restored to His people, and chapter eight shows the blessings that the people received. The people were once more enjoying the presence of God and living His ways. At the end of this chapter as they returned from a successful battle, Joshua and the people gathered to praise God and read the covenant together. They were reminded of who God is, of his righteous anger, and of his gracious blessings. May we spend time daily rehearsing the gospel. . .the new covenant made through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. May we not attempt to justify our sin but rather repent and turn away from it, knowing that God desires to dwell with us and He is enough! May we spread this good news of God’s unbroken plan and live in way that will bring glory to His name.