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The Hidden Sin of Achan

Be sure your sins will find you out

When I was a little boy, I sometimes used to think that when I closed my eyes that nobody could see me. Can anyone else identify with that?

I was deceiving myself.

This reminds me of how the devil seeks to deceive Christians into believing that we can commit sins and keep them hidden from God. For he knows that if we will not confess our sins to God, we are out of fellowship with the Lord and therefore unable to please Him.

We will see in this teaching that there is no such thing as ‘hidden’ sin but only ‘deceived’ sinners who have forgotten that the Lord our God is omniscient, all-seeing and all knowing, and longs for men and women to turn in repentance to Him. God knows your heart and my heart tonight, he knows our faults, he knows our sins, and he wants us to surrender afresh to Him tonight by confessing and forsaking our so called ‘hidden’ sins.

Key Text: Joshua 7:1-26;

Context: Israel had just won a fantastic supernatural victory at Jericho. Their morale could not have been higher. Then Satan incited Achan (means troubler) to commit a sin then hide it. This sin caused Israel to be defeated in the next battle.

Here is a prophetic word: Always remember that after your biggest victories in your life, the enemy will move in to tempt you into sin so that you will be defeated in your next battle. Remember to give thanks to God for your victory.

In Joshua 6:17-19; God had already placed all goods and life stock under a ban (i.e. forbidden to take them) also all precious metals (treasury).

All living things (except Rahab and family) were to die.

Why such utter destruction? Could it be that all these things were spiritually contaminated in some way? Metal could be purified in furnace.

God held whole nation accountable for sin of one family.

What if he did this today because of sin in church? Would the Holy Spirit be unable to move because of serious sin.

We know that Holy Spirit will still move up to a point be can we sin beyond that.

Joshua 7:2-5; A small village called Ai should have been no problem to Israel army. They sent up a small detachment and got completely defeated. Thirty-six men were killed, the rest lost heart, and fled.

Why did this happen? What do you think?

1. To humble them

2. To draw their attention to God`s displeasure

Joshua 7:6-9; Joshua tore clothes as sign of grief, realising that God had not gone into the battle with them. Lay face down before God, several hours. Elders did likewise! Dust on heads to show grief and mourning. Joshua prays and begins to reason with God. Surely God didn’t bring them over the Jordan to experience defeat at Ai.

Did God the Holy Spirit cause you to be born again so that you could be defeated at the small hurdle in your life?

Joshua was concerned about God`s honour in this matter. Are you thinking about the Lord in your battles?

Joshua 7:10-12; Joshua complained to God not about God. God tells him ‘get up’ and explains why defeat happened i.e. because Israel had sinned. Sinned in many ways, they sinned by:

1. Breaking His covenant: It had been agreed that God would take all spoil from Jericho and Israel would get spoil from other cities.

2. Someone had taken items ‘devoted’ to destruction.

3. Someone had stolen goods and hidden them.

4. Someone had lied about it and kept goods with own goods.

God solemnly warns Israel, these sins prevented Him from going with Israel into the battle at Ai. And further warns them that they are on their own until they put this matter right.

We go nowhere with God until we put things right.

Joshua 7:13-15; God could easily have named the culprit there and then.

Why do you think He didn’t?

The Lord gave Joshua an elaborate plan to expose the sinner.

Picture this, all Israel to assemble tribe, clan, families, and individual man.

Can you imagine if this happened in your church?

All congregation assemble house-groups, households, and individual persons.

Why did God do it this way?

1. To create zeal in Joshua and Israel to get things sorted out

2. To give the sinner time to repent.

At any stage Achan could have come forward, but the sinner was hard-hearted.

Did he think that God really couldn’t identify him?

A ‘disgraceful’ thing in Israel.

Achan's penalty was the utter destruction of him as the culprit, his family, his livestock, and goods.

Joshua 7:16-19; According to the oral tradition of Jews:Judah were a very honourable tribe their men drew swords and would not sheath them until justice was done. Achan eventually was taken, although by lot this was no lottery.

God exposed the exact man.

Achan had put God to the test.

Joshua spoke kindly to Achan ‘son’ not ‘fool’.

Joshua 7:20-21; Caught red handed. Achan makes a full confession.

Consider the mechanism of Achan's sin, He

“Saw“ “Convicted” “Took” “Hid”

It started with the Lust of eyes

Look not upon the wine that is red

Look not upon the woman so fair

Look not upon the drugs

The best way to stop sin is at first sight, don’t look at what might snare you.

Resist coveting

Don’t take, touch, taste, or handle

Don’t hide your sin, God has seen it all!

Joshua 7:22-26; Joshua's men checked out Achan`s confession

The evidence was then publicly displayed

Achan, his family, stolen booty, livestock, and goods to place of execution and destruction.

There is a play on words ‘Achan’ means troubler.

Sin brings trouble not only on perpetrator but on the family and associates.

All were stoned and burned with all Israel in agreement.

God`s fierce anger was then turned away.

It was a righteous man (Jesus Christ) who turned away God`s anger from us.


There is no such thing as “hidden” sin from God. Do not be deceived any longer.

If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)


Let us keep short accounts with God today.


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