Joshua 7:12b-13 says “I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction. Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.” (New Living Testament)
We tend to hide the “small” sins in our lives, tend to think they don’t matter because we are no longer swimming in the sin pool. Somehow, we feel it is okay to dip our toes in every once in awhile. But the problem with sin is it has a ripple effect. What starts out with one little sin, sends this ripple effect like a stone tossed into the glassy surface of calm, still waters. Our sins, no matter how small we think they are, have a way of growing in our lives and affecting others. In Joshua, the man who sinned had an effect on the whole nation. When we sin, or harbor things that are ungodly, we show an indifference to God’s Holiness. God doesn’t want us to do right most of the time, or being obedient to most of his laws. He knows the harmful effects of sin. He knows that it can overwhelm us, overtakes us, destroy lives, destroy families, and hinder our relationship with Him.
There is a story I heard from a pastor in Texas who explained, while on a mission trip in Africa, their guide warned them not to go out at night because of the lions. One night they were waiting for their guide to come and get them for dinner, and he was late. After about a half-hour, the pastor stepped out onto the porch to look for him. His wife reminded him that it was not safe and to get back in the room. After about another 30 minutes, the guide came to their door and told them, “I am sorry I wasn’t here sooner, but there was a lion sitting right outside your door.”
The Bible likens the devil to a roaring lion, waiting to attack and devour its prey. (1 Peter 5:8) Lions attack those who are alone, and who are not alert.vvDon’t think you are safe because you are “just” stepping out on to the porch. The night is the night, and there is no safe way to go out into it.
At the end of Joshua 7, Achan and his family (as well as all the plunder he hid), were stoned and burned. Stones were placed over the spot, and the place was called the Valley of Trouble. In our culture, it seems harsh to destroy him and his whole family. But sin has drastic consequences, not just in our own lives, but the lives of those around us. We should take drastic measures to rid ourselves of it. We need to take every precaution, and every effort we have to keep from being just another ripple in the sin pool.