And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.” Joshua 7:20-21
Jericho was the gateway to God’s promises for Israel. This walled city was the first of many triumphs God had planned for His people. As the firstfruits of the conquest, God required the plunder and spoils to be dedicated to Him. All the precious metals were to be given into the tabernacle treasury and all the rest was to be burned. The firstfruits offering is an act of faith. By giving away the first, we are declaring our trust that more is coming. Israel was to leave the spoils of Jericho on the promise of better, richer, more fulfilling gifts ahead.
Why did Achan take this Babylonian overcoat? When could he wear it? Deuteronomy 8:4 tells us God had preserved Israel’s clothes for the entire 40 years of wandering. Where could Achan have spent the silver or the gold? What could he buy that God had not already promised him? “So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full” Deut. 6:10-11. What else could he want?
The key to Achan’s sin is the word “covet”. Instead of gratefully waiting for the promised gifts, Achan greedily wanted what he could see. In magnifying the value of the wealth of Jericho, he lost sight of the value of the wealth of the promise. These “cursed things” became more important, more real, than the blessings.
It is so easy for us to be distracted by what we see around us, and lose focus on the promises we are fighting towards. We begin to take for granted the provision of God, and the pleasures of the world can become more real to us than the promises of our Father. We must remember, God knows what we need. He cares for us and has good things for us. The glitter of the world is not for us. The glory of our home is eternal.