Reaping the Whirlwind

Harry Buis

READ : Joshua 7:1–21

Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them. (v. 11)

The Bible analyzes the process that leads to sin so that we may avoid it. Achan says, “I saw . . . I coveted them . . . and took them” (v. 21). We must avoid the occasion for temptation. We must avoid dwelling on the possibility of yielding. We must avoid the sinful act. For if we sin, people will get hurt.

Our sin hurts us. How miserable Achan must have felt about his hidden sin. How ashamed when it came to light.

Our sin hurts our family. Perhaps they had shared in his sin. In any case, his sin hurt the people he loved most. In many subtle ways our sins hurt the other members of our family.

Our sin hurts our community. Because Achan had sinned, Israel lost the battle at Ai. God’s good plans for the Israelites were temporarily halted, and 36 men died. We cannot live our lives in isolation; our sins harm the people around us.

Our sin hurts our God. Joshua cries out to God, “All the inhabitants of the land will hear it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your name?” (v. 9).

In our permissive age, some people are even saying, “It is all right to commit adultery, just as long as no one gets hurt.” But someone always gets hurt! And the same is true of sins like pride and jealousy and selfishness. (originally published May 16, 1972)


Father, help us to search our hearts and be as specific as we can in confessing our sins. Amen.