Disobedience and Defeat

Steven VanderMolen

READ : Joshua 7:13-18

Under the ancient rules of war, a conqueror could seize the possessions of the one he defeats, and perhaps Achan was thinking along these lines. Achan may have been part of the invading army and may have wielded his sword effectively, but he was not the conqueror of Jericho. God was the conqueror. God commanded that the entire city of Jericho be destroyed except for all metal articles which were taken to the treasury of the Lord.

Achan heard those commands like everyone else, but he was disobedient, and he knew it (read v. 21 again). He was not stealing from the people of Jericho; he was taking something that God claimed for Himself. That is why God explained the defeat to Joshua by saying, “They have taken some of the devoted things, they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions” (v. 11).

Wealth and opportunity can dazzle our minds and imaginations. Even though God promises to care for us and our needs, we are tempted to use an opportunity to gain unfair advantage or to take something that really belongs to God. Don’t miss the cause and effect relationship here: disobedience leads to defeat. God isn’t fooled by our wanton lust for possessions and for power.


We confess to You, loving Father, our disobedience and covetousness. We want the things that are devoted to You. Forgive us, O God, and teach us to trust and obey. In Jesus’ name. Amen.