The Sin of Achan

Text: Joshua 7:1

With the help of the Lord, the Israelites won a decisive victory over Jericho (Joshua 6:20-21). But at their next battle against the smaller town of Ai, they were defeated (Joshua 7:3-5). The reason for this was because of the sin of one man – Achan. In this study, we’ll consider some lessons we can learn from the sin of Achan.

God’s Law Must Be Respected

  • God had banned the people from taking anything from Jericho (Joshua 7:1; 6:17-19) – obviously He was serious
  • God’s words to man are not idle words (Deuteronomy 32:46-47) – He has not revealed everything (Deuteronomy 29:29); so what He has revealed must be important for us to know & obey
  • We must respect God’s instructions enough that we obey them (Matthew 28:20)

Sin Affects Our Brethren

  • Achan sinned, but his brethren were affected by it (Joshua 7:1,5) – God said it would be this way (Joshua 6:18)
  • This is not teaching that God holds others guilty for our sins (Ezekiel 18:2-4) – rather, it means that others may face consequences for the sins of others (in this case, the removal of divine protection & aid)
  • Our sins often affect our brethren – ex: forsaking the assembly (Hebrews 10:24-25); bringing reproach upon the church (2 Peter 2:2)

Sin Affects Our Family

  • Achan sinned and his family was destroyed along with him (Joshua 7:24-25)
  • Again, the lesson is not that God will hold someone guilty for another’s sin (Ezekiel 18:2-4) – but we often face consequences for the sin of family members (Exodus 20:4-5)
  • Our sins often affect our family members – ex: failure to fulfill God-given roles (Ephesians 5:22,25); unlawful divorce (Matthew 19:9); refusing to provide for one’s household (1 Timothy 5:8)

Sin Cannot Be Tolerated

  • When Joshua found out about the contraband, God told him it could not be ignored (Joshua 7:13-15)
  • Sin cannot be tolerated among brethren (1 Corinthians 5:2,9-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15; 2 John 9-11)
  • Sin cannot be tolerated because God will not tolerate it (Joshua 7:1,25) – God cannot fellowship those who walk in darkness (1 John 1:5-6); we cannot either (Ephesians 5:11)

Sin Will Be Discovered

  • It seems as though no one knew of Achan’s sin but God – but it would be made known by divine indication (Joshua 7:14-15)
  • Our sins will eventually come to light (Numbers 32:23) – even if we hide them from others, we cannot hide them from God (Proverbs 15:3; Hebrews 4:13)

Sin Will Be Punished

  • Achan was put to death for his sin (Joshua 7:25)
  • Unless we meet God’s terms of forgiveness, we will be punished for our sins as well (Romans 6:23)


  • A heap of stones stood as a reminder of Achan’s sin, its consequences, & God’s response to it (Joshua 7:26)
  • We must remember God’s attitude toward sin & do all we can to avoid it
  • If we sin, we must meet God’s terms of forgiveness

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