Today’s reading includes Joshua 7:16-9:2, Luke 16:1-18, Psalm 82:1-8, Proverbs 13:2-3.
In today’s reading we see the danger of hidden things. This is just after the story of Rahab, who is remembered for her “holy hiding”. She hid the Israelite spies, which resulted not only in their safety, but in the victory for the Israelites. This was an act of obedience and she was honored throughout history because of it. She even was chosen to be in the lineage of Jesus.
But today’s story of “hidden things” was an altogether different story. Joshua and the Israelites defeated their enemies in Jericho. The place was burned to the ground and the only plunder that was taken were the things made from gold, silver, bronze, or iron. Those things were set aside for the Lord—an offering to the treasury in the house of the Lord. Joshua declared that the curse of the Lord be on anyone who tried to rebuild Jericho—as well as their family.
A man by the name of Achan stole some of the sacred things—gold and silver–that were set aside for the Lord, as well as a beautiful robe from Babylon. He hid these in the ground with the silver hidden the deepest. He was found out and was killed for his sin, along with his family.
In our world today, this seems extremely harsh. Why did God judge Achan so severely? First of all, in his act of disobedience, he broke 3 of the 10 commandments. He stole, he associated with an idol, as represented by the robe from Babylon, and he coveted. The sin started with the eyes, as it often does. He saw the goods, just as Eve saw the apple. What he saw with his eyes, he coveted in his heart. What he coveted in his heart, he took in his possession. Because it was wrong—he actually stole from the Lord Himself when he took the silver and gold—he had to hide. In fact, he hid so well, hid so deeply, it became the “foundation” of his house. He hid it deep beneath his tent and actually lived upon the sin.
For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.
As always, the hidden things were eventually revealed, and Achan suffered greatly for his sin, along with his family. Our sin never remains just with us, even if it is hidden. It affects those around us, especially our families. Why do we hide our sin? This goes back to Adam and Eve. When they sinned, they hid from God.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Of course, the Lord knew where they were, but He wanted them to recognize where they had fallen. You can’t hide from God. No sin is so deep, that it can be hidden from God. But no sin is so deep that it is out of reach of the Redeemer’s hand. Achan died for sin. Jesus died for ours. As we approach the sacred time of Easter, let us rejoice that nothing is hidden from God, and nothing is unredeemable by God.