Introduction: This chapter tells the story of the Jews’ defeat at the City of Ai after Achan violated God’s command that they not take any of the idols from Jericho. Achan’s sin stemmed from a covetous heart. His love for the pretty idols of the world was greater than his love for God. As a result of his sin, his family died and all of Israel suffered a humiliating defeat. From this chapter, God reveals seven important lessons on the consequences of coveting.
First, God burned with anger at Achan for coveting false idols. Achan’s covetousness stemmed from a sense of entitlement from his privileged background. Through this account, God reveals that His anger may also burn against you when you covet unholy things. Second, from the Jews’ defeat at the battle of Ai, He reveals that coveting can cause an entire community to lose His protection. Third, from Joshua’s grief and torment at the Jews’ defeat, He reveals that your coveting can cause misery for your family and others. Fourth, from Joshua’s fear that the Jews’ defeat would defame God’s holy name, He reveals that your covetousness can defame His holy name. Fifth, through His command for the Jews to consecrate themselves, He reveals that you must cleanse yourself when you become infected with the sin of covetousness. Sixth, through His command for the Jews to conduct a search through all of Israel for the hidden idols, He reveals that He wants you to aggressively search out and remove the hidden sins in your life. Finally, from the stoning of Achan, He reveals that those who covet will be judged. We all deserve the same judgment. Salvation is only possible through faith in Christ.
1. Coveting Can Cause God’s Anger to Burn Against You. Josh. 7:1.
Achan’s covetousness causes God’s anger to burn. After God miraculously destroyed the walls of Jericho, one man named Achan misused his deliverance to steal idols from the people of Canaan. This in turn caused God’s anger to “burn” against him: “1 But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel.” (Josh. 7:1). Just before the battle of Jericho, God warned the people not to take either the idols of Jericho or its gold and silver: “But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it. But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.” (Josh. 6:18-19). Coveting the idols of Jericho not only disobeyed God’s order, it violated the Tenth Commandment against coveting (Ex. 20:17; Dt. 5:21; Ro. 7:7). Coveting is also a form of idolatry: “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to . . . greed, which amounts to idolatry.” (Col. 3:5). Thus, coveting also violates the Second Commandment (Ex. 20:4; Dt. 5:8). If you engage in idolatry, you break at least two of His Commandments. You also risk having His anger burn against you. Is there any coveting your life that you need to repent of?
Privilege and plenty can lead to a feeling of entitlement and covetousness. God provides Achan’s genealogy to reveal that he came from a life of privilege. He came from the mighty tribe of Judah, which inherited the leadership status over Israel (Josh. 7:1). His father’s name was Carmi, a name who’s root means “vineyard.” His grandfather’s name was Zabdi, which means to “give a gift.” His great grandfather’s name was Zerah, which means “brightness, sunrise.” Rarely does the Bible provide this many names in a person’s genealogy. Typically, the Bible only lists the person’s father’s name. Together, these names reveal that Achan was blessed with “brightness” from the gifts of plenty and power that God had provided through his family. Achan’s status, however, fueled a sense of entitlement that caused him to covet things around him that he liked. His feeling of entitlement may have caused him to believe that he was entitled to keep the things that God had prohibited for the rest of Israel. We see another example of this with King David. With his power, he lusted after another man’s wife and felt entitled to her (2 Sam. 11:2). Eventually, his secret coveting lead him to commit adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:4). When David’s adultery lead to Bathsheba’ pregnancy, he tried convince her husband Uriah to be with her to conceal his sin. When that did not work, he had Uriah murdered to try cover his tracks and to win Bathsheba to himself (2 Sam. 11:14-17). As another example, King Ahab coveted a vineyard belonging to a person named Naboth (1 Kgs. 21:1-3). King Ahab later stole the land by murdering Naboth by misusing his power through lies and false charges (1 Kgs. 21:8-16). As another example, Satan was blessed with great beauty as one of God’s angels. His pride also caused him to covet God’s power (Is. 14:12-15). Today, many Christians in western countries have been blessed with wealth and power. Yet, they should never feel entitled to whatever their heart desires simply because God has blessed them with abundance. If you are blessed with money, are you using that money to bless others? Or, are you using God’s blessings and His grace and mercy as a license to covet even more? (Ro. 6:1, 15).
Fear the Lord by hating all that is evil. To avoid causing God’s anger to burn against you, you must fear Him: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7; 9:10). The Bible reveals that you fear God when you hate the evil in the world around you: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.” (Prov. 8:13). Do you hate the unholy idols of the flesh and the covetousness around you? Or, do you find yourself partaking in these things when you think that no one is watching?
2. Coveting Can Cause an Entire Community to Lose God’s Protection. Josh. 7:2-5.
The defeat of the Jews at the battle of Ai. Unaware of Achan’s sin, Joshua made plans for the conquest of the next strategic city for the conquest of the Promised Land, a place “Ai”. Yet, they would soon learn that they could not take the Promised Land unless they walked in obedience to receive the fullness of His blessing of protection: “2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, ‘Go up and spy out the land.’ So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, ‘Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.’ 4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.” (Josh. 7:2-5). Jericho and Ai were the two gateway cities that guarded the entrance to the Promised Land. Ai was located about one mile south east of Bethel. It would provide an important base in the hills that could not be reached from Canaanite chariotry (Hess, Richard, Joshua an Introduction & Commentary (Inter-Varsity Press 1996) p. 145). Here, God showed that the Jews could not defeat the small town of Ai without Him. The name “Ai” meant “ruin.” Even a small obstacle can ruin God’s people when they try to fight without Him.
Disobedience will cause God to remove His hedge of protection. God’s actions should not have come as a surprise. He twice warned the Jews that disobedience toward His covenant would cause Him to lift His hedge of protection. This in turn would cause the Jews to face fear and defeat: ‘“I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.’” (Lev. 26:17). ‘“As for those of you who may be left, I will also bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. And the sound of a driven leaf will chase them, and even when no one is pursuing they will flee as though from the sword, and they will fall.”’ (Lev. 26:36). “The LORD shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Dt. 28:25). “You cause us to turn back from the adversary; and those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves.” (Ps. 44:10). Are you being obedient to God?
The sin of one can affect the entire community. From this sad defeat, Joshua later reminded the people that the sin of one person caused the entire nation’s loss: ‘“Did not Achan the son of Zerah act unfaithfully in the things under the ban, and wrath fall on all the congregation of Israel? And that man did not perish alone in his iniquity.’” (Josh. 22:20). The Jews, however, would forget this lesson. Centuries later they would lose 30,000 men in battle after they disobeyed God and tried to fight without Him: “So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent; and the slaughter was very great, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.” (1 Sam. 4:10). Solomon also warned that: “Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.” (Ecc. 9:18). Christians cannot turn a blind eye toward the sins of the community around them. Believers are meant to be His salt and light on Earth (Matt. 5:13-16). Salt stings when it is applied to the wound of sin. If the Church ceases to be an irritant toward sin in the world, it will lose its saltiness and become worthless in Jesus’ eyes: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matt. 5:13). These verses challenge the libertarian world view that has invaded the Church. The Church falls short of God’s calling when it ceases to irritate the immoral society around it. The Church has largely stopped speaking out against sin in society in the hopes of being seeker friendly to nonbelievers. The result is a Church that has lost its saltiness. Are you praying for sinners within the nation to repent?
The sins of presumption made by both the spies and Joshua. Although the focus of this story is how the sins of one man can cause the defeat of an entire nation, both the spies and Joshua also sinned in this account. Unlike the two spies who return to Joshua before the invasion of Jericho, they made no claim that God would deliver Ai to the Jews. They also did not bring the ark into battle. These spies believed that the troops could take Ai on their own without troubling God. Joshua compounded this sin of presumption by failing to seek God’s counsel. Had he done so, God would have likely warned him not to attack. Thus, the spies and Joshua bore partial responsibility for the death of these 36 men. There is a spiritual equivalent to this error. Believers cannot assume that they can prevail in a battle of the flesh without God. Without His intervention, most believers will lack the power to defeat an addiction or conquer the desires of the flesh. Are you trying to fight your spiritual battles on your own? Are you helping others to fight their battles?
3. Coveting Can Inflict Sorrow Upon Others. Josh. 7:6-8.
Joshua’s torment at the Jews’ defeat. Upon learning of the Jews’ defeat, Joshua tore his clothes in grief and questioned God in a moment of weakness: “6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. 7 Joshua said, ‘Alas, O Lord God, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies?” (Josh. 7:6-8). The tearing of a person’s clothes is frequently used as a symbol of grief (Job 1:20; 2:12; 1 Sa. 4:12; 2 Sam. 1:11; 2 Kgs. 22:11). There are many examples of families in the Bible who suffered grief because of coveting. David’s family, for example, quarreled with each other after his adultery. As another example, Jacob’s family quarreled with each other after his coveting lead him to have two wives.
Your coveting will also cause grief to others. A believer who covets frequently engages in behavior that cause harm to others. For example, an entire family will suffer grief from a parent’s adultery or addiction. Are you doing things that may harm others?
4. Coveting Can Defame God’s Holy Name. Josh. 7:9.
Achan’s sin dishonored God’s holy name. Through Joshua’s cry, God reveals that a believer profanes His holy name when he or she sins: ‘“9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?’” (Josh. 7:9). Like Joshua, Moses also frequently appealed to God’s desire not to have His name profaned by wiping out the Jews for their sins. This in turn would nullify His prior promises to them (Ex. 32:12; Dt. 9:28). God will not allow His people to be permanently defeated because it would defame the belief of some in His ability to keep His promises: “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; for how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.” (Is. 48:11). “For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.” (1 Sam. 12:22). Centuries later, the Canaanites came back and tested the Jews at the same location of their defeat near “Beth-aven” (1 Sam. 13:5). Yet, because God will not allow His name to defamed, He defeated the 30,000 Philistines (1 Sam. 14:23).
Your sins can dishonor God’s name as well. Both your words and your conduct can take the Lord’s name in vain. When you enter a Holy covenant like marriage you are to make a vow using God’s Holy name (Dt. 6:13). When you swear falsely by breaking a vow, you: “profane the name of your God.” (Lev. 19:12). When you steal, you also “profane the name of my God.” (Prov. 30:7-9). Abortion will also “profane the name of your God . . .” (Lev. 18:21). Showing favoritism in favor of the rich against the poor, also blasphemes God’s name (Jam 2:7). As a believer, you are an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). Are you engaging in conduct which reflects poorly upon His holy name?
5. Coveting Must Be Cleansed to Restore God’s Blessings. Josh. 7:10-13.
God’s command for the Jews to consecrate themselves. After crying out to God for guidance, He revealed to Joshua that Israel had sinned and needed to cleanse itself of its sins to have its blessings restored: “10 So the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. 12 Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst. 13 Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the Lord, the God of Israel, has said, ‘There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.’” (Josh. 7:10-13). God twice called upon Joshua to “rise up.” As one commentator explains, “He doesn’t need to beg God to change His heart towards Israel. Joshua must change Israel’s heart before God.” (David Guzik on Joshua chapter 7). God commanded the Jews to consecrate themselves. Joshua previously told the Jews to “consecrate” themselves before they started their journey into the Promised Land (Josh. 3:5). Because He is holy, He wants you to be holy as well: “‘For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (Lev. 11:45; 1 Pet. 1:16). Have you made yourself holy for Him?
Be sanctified through Christ’s blood. Through Jesus’ death, your body has been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20). If you have been freed from being slaves to sin, you should instead become a slave to righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18). Through faith in Christ, you have the strength to break any covetousness or addiction (Phil. 4:13). To remain sanctified, you must deny yourself of your unholy desires: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’” (Matt. 16:24-26). “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Gal. 5:13). Guided by the Spirit, you must also exercise self-control: “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:8). “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16; 1 Pet. 4:7). “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14). Part of self-denial involves choosing not to watch or read certain things. Jesus warned that: “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23). Job denied himself by making a covenant with his eyes: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1). If you do not control your covetous desires, they will ultimately consume you: “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (Jam. 1:14-15). By denying yourself here on Earth, you will also “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” (Matt. 6:20). You must also renew your mind every day to dwell on what is good: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .” (Rom. 12:2). As you renew your mind, covet the things of God: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1-2; Matt. 6:6; Matt 6:19-24; 13:44-46; 1 Cor. 12:31; Phil. 3:7-14). Have you kept yourself sanctified for His use by renewing your mind each day?
6. Coveting Must Be Rooted Out Wherever It Hides in Your Life. Josh. 7:14-24.
The search for the hidden idols within Israel. After revealing the sin that had caused God to remove His protection, He instructed Joshua to use lots to find the guilty party within the 12 tribes: “14 In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which the Lord takes shall come near by households, and the household which the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15 It shall be that the one who is taken with the things under the ban shall be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel. 16 So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son, I implore you, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me.’ 20 So Achan answered Joshua and said, ‘Truly, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.’ 22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was concealed in his tent with the silver underneath it. 23 They took them from inside the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the sons of Israel, and they poured them out before the Lord.” (Josh. 7:14-24). Although use of lots to find the culprit may have seemed arbitrary, God was guiding the process: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” (Prov. 16:33). For example, the sailors on Jonah’s boat used lots to determine who had caused God to become angry with them (Jonah 1:7). After Judas betrayed Jesus, the 11 remaining apostles also used lots to select a replacement 12th apostle (Act 1:26). Today, you have the Word and the Holy Spirit to guide you (Ps. 119:105; Jo. 14:26; 16:13). Are you asking the Holy Spirit for guidance?
Search out the hidden sins in your life as well. When you repent and accept Christ, you become a “new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17). You are also part of God’s “royal priesthood.” (1 Pet. 2:9). Through Christ, your old self and your old covetous desires will burn away: “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that your body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin . . .” (Ro. 6:6). There will, however, be times when some aspects of the old coveting flesh returns to tempt us (Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9). Just as the Jews aggressively looked for the hidden sin, you must also: “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened . . .” (1 Cor. 5:7). When you secretly covet something that is unholy, your sin will stay hidden for long. Hidden sins grow like leaven in bread and snare those who refuse to repent: “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Nu. 32:23). “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin.” (Prov. 5:22). Are you secretly longing for something that is unholy or that you are not entitled to?
Covetousness will eventually entangle you in a desires that cannot be satisfied. The pleasure Satan offers to the person who gives into covetousness never last long (Heb. 11:25; Lk. 12:19-20). The coveting that the devil offers can only be satisfied through more coveting. Alcohol is just one of many examples of this: “Furthermore, wine betrays the haughty man, so that he does not stay at home. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, and he is like death, never satisfied. He also gathers to himself all nations and collects to himself all peoples.” (Hab. 2:5). The greed or coveting of money can also never be satisfied with more money: “And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each one to his unjust gain, to the last one.” (Is. 56:11). “Sheol, and the barren womb, earth that is never satisfied with water, and fire that never says, ‘Enough’.” (Prov. 30:16). Coveting only leads to grief and sorrow: “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Tim. 6:10; Ps. 40:12; 116:3). If you turn from God and fail to ask for His help from your bondage, He may turn you over to your bondage: “Therefore, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, . . ..” (Ro. 1:28). Are you allowing any unholy desires to grow unchecked?
7. Coveters Who are Not Cleansed By Christ are Barred From Heaven. Josh. 7:25-26.
The judgment of Achan. The story concludes with the sad death by stoning of both Achan and his entire family: “24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, ‘Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.’ And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. 26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day.” (Josh. 7:22-26). The place where Achan sinned became known as the valley of “Achor”, The name of the place changed because the name “Achan” was blotted out from God’s book of life: “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.’” (Ex. 32:33). God also struck down Ananias and Saphira after their coveting caused them both to lie about withhold tithes from their church (Acts 5:1-10). These stories show that no one is exempt from God’s judgment. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17). Christians are spared punishment only because Christ took the punishment that all of us deserve.
The judgment of Achan’s family. The hardest part of this story is the judgment that falls upon Achan’s family. It is highly unlikely that they had anything to do with his sin. A child will not suffer eternal death because of the sins of a parent (Dt. 24:16; Ez. 18:20; Jer. 31:30). Yet, a parent’s sins can bring a curse upon an entire family. This was one of the curses for disobedience that God warned of in the Torah: “Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.” (Dt. 29:18). “[Y]et He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” (Ex. 34:7(b); 20:5; Nu. 14:18; Dt. 5:9). We can see many examples of this curse today. For example, drug or alcohol addicts can curse their children with the same addictive behavior and/or psychological scaring. As another example, adultery can cause pain, emotional problems for the children and financial devastation for the entire family. Are you engaged in any sin that might bring judgment upon the rest of your family? If so, repent and God will forgive you (1 Jo. 1:9).
Know the value of the mercy and grace you have been given. God does not want anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). Yet, He is a consuming fire of righteousness (Heb. 12:28-29). He will eventually cast out the unsaved who rebel against His Law (Ps. 5:10; Ezek. 20:38). The penalty for coveting is also death (Jam. 1:14-15; Heb. 10:28). A coveter who has not repented and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior is not only cursed to struggle and lead a life of desperation, that person is also disqualified from entering heaven: “[N]or the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Eph. 5:5; Rev. 2:14; 2:20). Are you warning others of the need to repent?
Entire nations will one day be judged for their covetousness. Just as God judged Achan’s entire family for his sins, entire cities or nations will face God’s judgment for their covetousness: “And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’” (Rev. 18:19). Are you praying for America to repent of its culture of covetousness and return back to God?
God can provide hope through Jesus where none exists. The valley of Achor is believed to be the modern “Buqei’ah Valley, approximately 8 miles west of Jericho. The changed name uses the Hebrew word “’kr”, which means “to bring disaster.” (Hess, p. 155). The Jews were forever reminded that that the coveting of one person brought disaster. God deals seriously with coveting, and those who embrace it face judgment. Yet, even for those caught in the sin of coveting, God promises a way out: “Then I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope . . .” (Hos. 2:15). The hope that He provides is available only through Christ. Only through faith in Christ’s death on the cross is your salvation possible (Ro. 3:9-12; Gal. 2:16; 2:21; 3:23-24). If you know the price Christ paid for you, what are you doing to thank Him? (Ro. 12:1-2).