Josh 7:24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day
After the great victory at Jericho, wherein the walls fell down flat and the fear of Israel was sent throughout the land, the small town of Ai stood up to them and won the initial battle.
A mere force of 3000 men was sent to do battle against Podunk Holler, Canaan. But they had to sound the retreat when 36 of their men were slain. Roughly 1 out of 100 were lost.
What went wrong? God's anger was kindled against His people due to covetousness and disobedience. It seems Achan couldn't do without this nice suit, a couple of hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold that he had spied among the Jericho rubble. Ignoring the commandment of God, given through his man, Joshua, Achan saw, he coveted and he took.
Now really, what good would this stuff do him? He could not be seen wearing these clothes, he would stand out like a sore thumb. What was his plan for such a suit of clothes? It goes to show that it is not so much the item as it is the act of disobedience that is bound deeply in the sinful heart.
And it was for that very act that Israel lost a battle and 36 men. Achan and his immediate family were incinerated. All because of one man's lust for that which was not his.
Next time you are tempted to disobey God, or despise the word of His messenger, consider the long-ranging effects that your actions might take. How will it affect you personally, your family, and how will it harm your church? You see, no sin is harmless, nor is it victimless.
Ask David who hung out on his rooftop and ogled the girl next door until he just had to have that which was denied him. Uriah died, the baby died and David spent a year being backslidden and a lifetime living in shame.
If this could happen to a "man after God's own heart" do you think you are any better?
Samson married outside of the faith and thousands died. Abraham got in a rush and produced some very troublesome offspring for which the world is still reeling. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and plunged the world into sin.
Stay close to the Lord, yield not to temptation. Don't buy the devil's advertising. His, "yea, hath God said..." spiel is deceptive and destructive. Don't be Achan for a takin'.