Every decision that you make will bring about a response in the form of decisions made by others. It is important to remember that whatever decision you make is in accord with God’s Word and with His will. Your decisions should be according to Jeremiah 29:11—
“‘For I know the plans I have for you’–this is the LORD’S declaration–‘plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'”
Decisions can be made whether you believe God’s Word or not–even more specifically, they can be made whether or not you choose to follow God’s Word. Whatever decision is made, His Word is consistent:
“Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap.”
God reminds us that we are to remain obedient to Him and His Word, which means that we are to be set apart from those who choose not to follow God.
“But the city and everything in it are set apart to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and everyone with her in the house will live, because she hid the men we sent. But keep yourselves from the things set apart, or you will be set apart for destruction. If you take any of those things, you will set apart the camp of Israel for destruction and bring disaster on it. For all the silver and gold, and the articles of bronze and iron, are dedicated to the LORD and must go into the LORD’s treasury.”
Look at this example and see how decisions made can have a profound effect on others.
“The Israelites, however, were unfaithful regarding the things set apart for destruction. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of what was set apart, and the LORD’s anger burned against the Israelites.”
It only takes one person to bring failure, shame, and embarrassment to a family, group, or community. Here, because of the acts of Achan, all of Israel was considered to be unfaithful, because someone took something that God said not to take. One person represented Israel, and in the same way, the way you act or behave has much to say about the family you come from.
After returning to Joshua they reported to him, “Don’t send all the people, but send about 2,000 or 3,000 men to attack Ai. Since the people of Ai are so few, don’t wear out all our people there.” So about 3,000 men went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down about 36 of them and chased them from outside the gate to the quarries, striking them down on the descent. As a result, the people’s hearts melted and became like water. Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell before the ark of the LORD with his face to the ground until evening, as did the elders of Israel; they all put dust on their heads. “Oh, Lord GOD ,” Joshua said, “why did You ever bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites for our destruction? If only we had been content to remain on the other side of the Jordan! What can I say, Lord, now that Israel has turned its back [and run] from its enemies? When the Canaanites and all who live in the land hear about this, they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. Then what will You do about Your great name?”
Because of the decision of one, 36 Israelites lost their lives. There was the shame of those remaining after the destruction and the fear of others that would hear about this (v. 9), and what it would do for God’s name. Joshua thought he was praying to God, but he was really complaining about his circumstances. Unfortunately, secret sins can affect an entire group because God will not bless the household unless everyone is committed to living a holy and righteous life. While we cannot control what others say or think about us, we can control what we do in how we live for God.
The LORD then said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why are you on the ground? Israel has sinned. They have violated My covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put [the things] with their own belongings. This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They will turn their backs [and run] from their enemies, because they have been set apart for destruction. I will no longer be with you unless you remove from you what is set apart.
God tells Joshua to get up and stop complaining and feeling sorry for himself. He told him that Israel had sinned and was disobedient. While it seemed to be the right thing to do, the prayer should have been directed more at what has kept Israel from being victorious. Sometimes we need to ask what is it that is impeding our progress in following Christ. Seek God and ask Him what is keeping you from moving forward. You will ultimately have to make a decision to deal with sin in your life, or you will live a defeated life.
The sin that Achan committed was a violation of the covenant. He had lied and had taken some of the devoted things and mixed them in with his own possessions. God held all of Israel accountable for what had happened. There comes a point where all of us, as a family and as a group, to act once the sin is discovered.
“Go and consecrate the people. Tell them to consecrate themselves tomorrow, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘There are among you, Israel, things set apart. You will not be able to stand against your enemies until you remove what is set apart.
God makes the decision that He will not be with Israel unless they remove what is keeping them from fellowship with Him. The people, as a result, have to decide whether they will be on God’s side or on Achan’s side. We have to remember to do this very thing when it comes to following Christ. The decision to follow Christ will sometimes separate us from those who are close to us that choose not to follow Christ.
So Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and make a confession to Him. I urge you, tell me what you have done. Don’t hide anything from me.”
Sin may be hidden from men, but never from God. Give God the glory for who He is…don’t play around with Him. God pointed out to Joshua that Achan was the person who committed the sin.
Achan replied to Joshua, “It is true. I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I did: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Babylon, 200 silver shekels, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, I coveted them and took them. You can see for yourself. They are concealed in the ground inside my tent, with the money under the cloak.”
Achan’s confession was the result of Joshua’s confrontation with him. He confessed that he was greedy and lusted for things that he thought would be good for him. He failed to see what God had already provided for him and his family.
Your decision, no matter what it is, will come down to whether or not you support God or not. It requires making choices about your personal life, your family and even your job. There is a cost of sin (Joshua 7:24-26), and it will require hard decisions to be made. Achan and his entire family had to endure his affliction as a result of his actions. Because of the consequences of sin, we should never allow sinful behavior to continue around us if we have the ability to confront it and address it.
When God speaks, it is always to be taken seriously. Listening to Him and being obedient to Him will always lead to making good decisions, which will be good for you and even for those around you.
We pray that you will seek God in all things and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us as we make decisions in our life and order your steps. In doing so, you will be a good and faithful servant, and you will, in turn, glorify God with your actions.