His name means: "Troublemaker"
His character: Achan's greed for the spoils of war and his attempt to hide his sin led to a situation that endangered Israel's relationship with God. By disregarding God's command, he brought trouble and judgment on his own people.
His sorrow: His disobedience resulted in the loss of many lives, including his own.
His triumph: To have participated in the victory over Jericho.
Key Scriptures: Joshua 7:1-8:2
A Look at the Man
Achan may not have been a bad man, at least to begin with. While living for many years in the desert, he may even have fed himself on dreams of what life would be like in the Promised Land, where he could build a life for his family. He may have rushed into Jericho fully intending to follow the Lord's commands. But then came an opportunity to do otherwise. And that's when his resolve faded.
Achan's disobedience then produced a kind of foolishness in him; he attempted to hide what he had done, burying stolen goods beneath his tent. But he was hiding from the God who made him, from the same God who parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River, and from the God who had just caused the walls of a fortified city to crumble without a weapon being raised against it. Why was Achan foolish enough to think that God would find it hard to see through his little deception?
The truth is that it's sin's nature to hide. Consider your own experience. Isn't it hard to admit your sins to others? Isn't it difficult to admit them to yourself? Most of us have found ingenious ways to hide the ugliness of sin from ourselves and others, by rationalizing, excusing, and even forgetting things we've done wrong. But Achan's story tells us that God is never fooled by such foolishness.
Simple obedience and the cleansing power of God's grace are the best defense against sin. But when we fail to do the right thing, we should remind ourselves not to compound the problem by hiding what we've done. Instead, we can go directly to God, expressing our sorrow and asking his forgiveness, confident that he will give it.
Reflect On: Deuteronomy 6:1–3
Praise God: Because his commandments are meant to bless us, not to enslave us.
Offer Thanks: That God has not hidden his commands from us.
Confess: Any tendency to value your opinion about a course of action more than you value God's.
Ask God: To make you humble enough to realize that you do not always know what is best.
Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.
Achan may not have been a bad man, at least to begin with.