Joshua 7:1; 20-21, “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel… And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”
Achan was a member of the tribe of Judah. This tribe was positioned by God in the vanguard of Israel on the march. It was a large and privileged tribe, for from it would come the promised Messiah. Judging by what Achan kept for himself, he did not steal to feed or clothe his family. He stole to increase his wealth. He desired more luxury. The desire for extra comforts and greater possessions, not the comforts and possessions themselves, led Achan to disregard God’s command.
Notice from v. 21 the pattern of the sin that Achan confesses: “When I saw…I coveted them, and took them.” This pattern is not peculiar to Achan. Have you ever acted on the thought that if no one knows then no one will be harmed? That just is not true.
Maybe he thought, “Who’ll miss these things? No one knows how much is here.” Somehow, he managed to remove it all without anyone the wiser. From a worldly perspective this never showed up on the radar. From the heavenly perspective it was unmistakable (see Heb. 4:13; c.f. Psalm 139:2-4). God’s eyes penetrate our thoughts our hearts our desires, our bitterness our anger our lust and everything we think and speak. How do we overcome the internal debate as to whether or not we should obey God? Trust that God’s commands are for your good.
Children cannot comprehend why their parents place certain restrictions on them. Similarly, we do not always fathom that when God says, “Thou shalt not” what He is saying is, “Don’t hurt yourself.” When He says, “Thou shalt” we should understand that to be, “Please enjoy yourself!” All of God’s commands are for our good, yet we persistently fight against them. The only way to win that internal debate is to have confidence in the fact that God is looking out for you.