7 1But the Israelites did not obey God. There was a man from the tribe of Judah named Achan son of Carmi, grandson of Zimri. Achan kept some of the things that should have been destroyed. So the Lord became very angry with the Israelites.
10The Lord said to Joshua, “Why are you down there with your face on the ground? Stand up! 11 The Israelites sinned against me. They have broken the agreementd that I commanded them to obey. They took some of the things that I commanded them to destroy. They have stolen from me. They have lied. They have taken those things for themselves. 12 That is why the army of Israel turned and ran away from the fight. They did that because they have done wrong. They should be destroyed. I will not continue to help you or be with you unless you destroy everything I commanded you to destroy.
19Then Joshua said to Achan, “Son, you must honor the Lord, the God of Israel. Praise him and confess your sins to him. Tell me what you did, and don’t try to hide anything from me.”
20 Achan answered, “It is true! I sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I did: 21 In Jericho, I saw a beautiful coat from Babylon, about 5 poundse of silver, and about a poundf of gold. I wanted these things for myself, so I took them. You will find them buried in the ground under my tent. The silver is under the coat.”
22 So Joshua sent some men to the tent. They ran to the tent and found the things hidden there. The silver was under the coat. 23 The men brought the things out of the tent and took them to Joshua and all the Israelites. They threw them on the ground before the Lord.
24Then Joshua and all the people led Achan son of Zerah to the Valley of Achor. They also took the silver, the coat, the gold, Achan’s sons and daughters, his cattle, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and everything he owned. They took all these things to the Valley of Achor with Achan. 25Then Joshua said, “You caused much trouble for us, but now the Lord will bring trouble to you.” Then all the people threw stones at Achan and his family until they died. Then the people burned them and everything he owned.
“God wants us to be happy with what we have.” Brittany, 9
“Stealing is wrong because it is actually coveting. So you are breaking two commandments.” Nathan, 11
“Stealing is just plain mean. It’s just like stealing God’s things. It makes God sad when we steal, and the people we steal from.” Heather, 10
“If you think nobody saw you, think again because God sees everything you do.” Casey, 10
In the story of Achan, God was very unhappy with the people of Israel. He had told them not to take things from the enemy for themselves but to destroy everything. He expected them to follow his instructions. God expects us to follow his rules and not to take what isn’t ours.
Most thieves would never think that stealing from people is stealing from God. Because we are created in God’s image, we should treat each other with kindness and love. This is the way God treats us. If we respect people because they are created in God’s image, we will not take what belongs to them.
If you believe God will provide for you, this will keep your heart free from wanting what other people have. Be thankful for all the things God has given you. Those with thankful hearts don’t steal.
In the story of Achan, one man’s sin affected an entire army. Because one man took some things, God couldn’t bless the Israelites with victory. When you sin, it can affect your relationship with other people. God wants to bless his people, but he can’t when they disobey him.
Our biggest tests usually come when no one is looking. We think that our sin is hidden, but is it? Nothing is hidden before God. He sees everything. God wants us to be honest with him and with people. We should make decisions that honor God all the time.
Jesus is the true light who came into the world (John 1:4-9). The light that Jesus shines into this world is his life (John 1:4). God wants us to be free from the lies of this world, which the Bible calls darkness. One of the biggest lies is that God can’t supply your needs. If you believe that lie, you will probably steal things. When we believe that God loves us, we know that he will take care of us.
Think About This: God loves us all the time. Because God will provide our needs, there’s never a reason to steal.
Memorize This Truth: “Whoever has been stealing must stop it and start working. They must use their hands for doing something good. Then they will have something to share with those who are poor” (Ephesians 4:28).