In God’s New Covenant His family is scattered all over the world. It is different from the Old Covenant where one man’s sin influenced the whole nation. We want to look at the example of Achan to show the difference.
# The ‘family’ principle of the Old Covenant
- Israel was one big family. In the Old Covenant the Israelite nation was one big ‘family.’ What one person did influenced the whole community. When they made a covenant with God at Sinai, the nation as a whole was responsible to God. All twelve tribes agreed to keep the commands of God. The Old Testament laws specifically deal only with the nation of Israel.
- So what Achan did influenced the whole nation. When the conquest of Canaan began, God told the Israelites that the first city they conquered was devoted to Him. All Jericho’s treasures belonged to God and the Tabernacle. They could take nothing for themselves. Nobody knew that Achan took a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of sliver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels. 1
- It caused the defeat at Ai. Subsequent to the conquest of Jericho, the Israelites sent a small contingent of soldiers to conquer Ai. They were defeated and 36 men were killed. 2 It was a direct result of Achan’s sin that husbands and fathers died. Even though the Israelites did not know what Achan did, the whole nation suffered.
- The nation reacted with shock.
- ‘…the hearts of the people melted and became like water.’ 3
- ‘…Joshua tore his clothes and fell face down to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till the evening.’ 4
- God was not amused. He asked Joshua, ’What are you doing down on your face?’ 5
- ‘Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep.’ 6
- ‘They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.’ 7
One man’s sin affected the nation.
# God’s new nation
With God’s universal invitation to all nations to join His Kingdom, His people are scattered all over the world. 8 There is no way that those millions of followers of Jesus can be treated as one. So the individual follower of Jesus, who has the Holy Spirit to guide him/her, is personally responsible to God.
Even if God’s family is scattered, our walk with God still effects others. Jesus said, ‘You are the salt of the earth…. You are the light of the world….’ 9 With the Holy Spirit’s guidance and help, we can be positive ‘Achans’ in society, spreading the sweet savour of our Lord Jesus.
- Joshua 7:20-21
- Joshua 7
- Joshua 7:5c
- Joshua 7:6
- Joshua 7:10
- Joshua 7:11
- Joshua 7:11b
- 1 Peter 1:1-2
- Matthew 5:13-14