Sin in the Camp spells Defeat & Death

Sunday October 1, 2017   Phone: 570.829.5216
Pastor David Miklas e-mail
Message: BK of Joshua (#08) – Sin in the Camp spells Defeat & Death Text: Joshua 7: 1-16

Sin in the Camp brings Defeat and Death


INTRODUCTION: The miracle at JERICHO was a great VICTORY; for God, for Joshua, and for the Israelites. It was indeed another miracle equal in INTENSITY, DRAMA and DIVINE SIGNIFICANCE to


Their escape from Egypt via the Red Sea, and to

Their entrance into the Promise Land through the Jordan River.


Jericho was the first city to fall under the judgment of God. The next would be the city of Ai. But lurking in the shadows was a serious problem of sin that would soon turn the Israelites spirit of confidence into “internal anxiety, emotional confusion and doubt.”


The ominous word "BUT" introduces us to Joshua chapter 7. Achan had sinned and as a result Israel would experience a humiliating defeat in the next battle.


Interesting, Israel was defeated not from WITH-OUT, but rather they were defeated from WITH-IN. Listen, my friends


The Devil does more damage from WITH-IN our churches than from WITH-OUT.

The Devil does more damage from WITH-IN our homes than from WITH-OUT.

The Devil does more damage from WITH-IN our lives than from WITH-OUT.


WARNING: “The more we seek to come to grips with sin in our lives and the need for REPENTANCE and RESTORATION the more the Devil is going to fight us from within doing his dirty work.”


From Joshua 7, let me call your attention to SIX things. As each point begins with the letter “D” they will be easy to remember.


FIRST: Achan's DISOBEDIENCE, verse 1,


“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.”


Remember God's promise of VICTORY over Jericho carried a WARNING found in Joshua 6:18-19,


“And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. (19) But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.”


The word "accursed" means "ban for destruction."


Everything and everyone was to be destroyed with fire, except for Rahab and her family along with all the silver and gold and bronze was to be given unto the Lord.



SECOND: Israel's DEFEAT, verses 2-5,


“And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. (3) And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. (4) So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. (5) And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.”


Following Israel's victory at Jericho, Joshua sent a small group of men against the city Ai with disastrous results. What happened?


We know it to be the root problem of HIDDEN SIN in the camp of Israel. But there are some surface problems too.


Israel had come off an unbelievable victory. They were on a spiritual high. And in their reactions you can easily detect their feelings of pride and arrogance. I sense this attitude in verse 3,


And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.”


They not only misjudged the number of warriors at Ai, they also failed to remember it was God who had given them the victory at Jericho. It was not their wisdom or strategies; rather it was God who engineered the victory. Proverbs 16:18 tells us, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." They developed self-confidence and lost their God-confidence.


Learn these lessons well in your Christian life,


There is no experience in Christian living so full of danger as the rush of spiritual victory. Yesterday’s victories do not make a believer immune from today’s defeats.


Someone said, "There is no moment, so perilous as when for the first time in the Christian life, you have experienced victory from sin. At such time we begin to take pride in ourselves, and to boast that our own arm saved us.


We so easily imagine because we have achieved victory ONCE, God has imparted to us some new strength which will see us throughout our earthly journey. The fact is apart from the GRACE of GOD and the BLOOD OF CHRIST, even the smallest temptation will be too powerful for us. Since God won a victory in my life YESTERDAY, then it is God who needs to give me the POWER and the WISDOM for the victory again TODAY as well as in all the TOMORROWS.”


Let me remind you what I have to remind myself all the time from Ephesians 6:10, "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God …" and I add that is for today and all of the tomorrows.


THIRD: Joshua's DISMAY, verses 6-9,


“And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. (7) And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! (8) O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! (9) For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?”


Herein is another reason for Israel's failure. Not only was there sin in the camp and self-confidence, there was also a NEGLECT OF PRAYER. Joshua fails to go back to Gilgal and wait upon God.


Someone said, "FAILURE TO PRAY ALWAYS MAKES US INSENSITIVE TO SIN." Another said, "If you pray in time of victory you will never have to plead in time of defeat."


Then was the time for prayer. Now was the time for ACTION, the time for ruthless extermination of sin, verse 10, “And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?”


FOURTH: The Lord's DIRECTION, verses 11-15,


“Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. (12) Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. (13) Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you. (14) In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man. (15) And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.”


Verse 11 delivers a very powerful statement, “Israel hath sinned, and … transgressed my covenant which I commanded them…”  In verses 11-12 the Lord answers Joshua directly and to the point. Then in verses 13-15, rather than identify the culprit Achan directly, God give Joshua two instructions.


Number 1: The people were to SANTIFY themselves. Everyone was to set themselves apart for self-examination.


It was one man's sin, but it had an effect on the entire nation.

It may be one's man sin in the church, but it affected the entire congregation.

It may be one family member who sins, but it will have an effect upon the entire family.


Number 2: A fourfold process of Examination was required. It began with each TRIBE, continued through each FAMILY in that tribe, then to each HOUSEHOLD in the family, and finally on to each MAN in that household in order to find the guilty person.


Please notice the last two words “was taken” in verses 16, 17, 18. You ask, “How was this done?”


In the Old Testament, the casting of lots was done to determine the mind of the Lord. In Proverbs 16:33 we read, "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord."

The High Priest in Israel wore a BREASTPLATE of JUDGMENT, wherein were two stones called the URIN and THURIN. These stones indicated the answer of yes or no to the will and direction of God.


The last time this method was used in the Bible was in the Book of Acts, when the apostles were choosing a successor to Judas.


FIFTH: Achan is DISCOVERED, verses 16-21,


“So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken: (17) And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken: (18) And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. (19) And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.”


Picture the entire nation assembled before Joshua. No doubt our man Achan is thinking, “No one can possibly discover I am the guilty party; I am well hidden in the ranks.”


When the tribe of Judah is taken, Achan begins to become uncomfortable as Joshua starts with each family of the tribe of Judah. Like poor Achan, have you ever felt TRAPPED; knowing you are guilty as you say to yourself, I wish I hadn't saw, coveted and took?


By this time the family of the Zarhites was taken and then came the household of Zabdi. And by now you have one very pitiful looking man, PALE, SHAKEN and probably PROSTRATE on the ground. Notice verses 20-21,


And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: (21) When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”


“Why didn't God just identify Achan?” Personally I believe there are two reasons:


First, God wanted Israel to never FORGET the process! As each lot fell and as each TRIBE, FAMILY, and HOUSEHOLD was identified, all Israel would have a chance to think about the SERIOUSNESS of violating God's commandments.




Second, I believe God, in His divine LOVE and MERCY, was once again offering a way of escape to a man who had disobeyed Him. In Achan's situation it seems God was giving him time, as He did for the people of Jericho, to confess and truly repent of his sin. Only after Achan's back was to the wall did he finally CONFESS. He had no choice. His confession was forced.


SIXTH: The result is DEATH, found in verses 22-26,


“So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. (23) And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. (24) And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. (25) And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. (26) And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.”


The tragic result was death to his whole household. Achan had sinned the sin unto death. Truly, "the wages of sin is death."


Looking back over Joshua chapter 7, there are some valuable lessons to be learned.


Number 1: Be sure your sin will find you out.


You may be indifferent about how you live, however, remember this, "Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap."  You may be even hiding some secret sin, but remember this, "Sin is the greatest of all detectives, be sure your sin will find you out." Nobody can hide from God.


Jeremiah 23:24 says, "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord."

In Ecclesiastes 12:14 we read, "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."


My friends, if you are harboring some sin in your life, do not be so FOOLISH to believe God does not know the secret of your heart. That sin still carries the medium of exchange that trades in SORROW, DISILLUSIONMENT and DEATH.


Number 2: Sin brings defeat and death. May I remind you, "That the pleasures of sin are for a moment, but its wages are for eternity. Sin has its petty beginning, but it has an ugly ending – the smell of death." James 1:12 says to us, "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."


Why are many of God's people living in spiritual DEFEAT, no JOY, no VICTORY, no BLESSING in their Christian experience? Is it not because of unconfessed sin?


Why are our families not seeing REVIVAL? Instead, they are reaping defeat and even death. Could it be because of some unconfessed sin in the life of a father or a mother?


Why are our churches not experiencing REVIVAL? Could it be because of unconfessed sin within that congregation? Could it be bitterness, anger, lying, immorality, back-biting, or some other undisclosed sin that is within our midst?


Number 3: Even though one person sins, the entire family will suffer. Notice again in verse 1 these words, "But the children of Israel committed a trespass … for Achan … tool of the accursed thing…" In verse 11 God said "Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant…" In verses 24-25, Achan and all his family were stoned to death. Never underestimate the damage one person can do outside the will of God.


David's disobedience by taking an unauthorized census led to the death of 70,000 people.

Jonah's refusal to obey God almost sank a ship.

The Corinthian’s were admonished in I Corinthians 5 to discipline the disobedient man in their fellowship, because his sin was defiling the whole church.


The church today must look diligently as Hebrew 12:15 tells, "lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and by it many be defiled."


I trust this will be written onto the tablet of your heart by the Holy Spirit, “When one member of a family or when one member of a church is guilty before God, THE COLLECTIVE VERDICT FROM HEAVEN IS "MY PEOPLE HAVE SINNED."


No individual Christian can sin without affecting the whole church.

No child of God can grow cold in his spiritual life without lowering the temperature of everyone else around him.

No parent can live in sin without having the results affect the entire family.


The victory of the whole church depends on the victorious life of every individual church member. Do not think you can be lost in the crowd and be forgotten.


The witness of the Green Street Baptist Chapel to the Glory of God is AFFECTED BY THE TESTIMONY OF EVERY ONE OF US. May I repeat that statement? The witness of the Green Street Baptist Chapel to the Glory of God is AFFECTED BY THE TESTIMONY OF EVERY ONE OF US!


Number 4: Achan's sin could be your sin. Again in verses 20-21 we read,


And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: (21) When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.” 


The three crucial steps in Achan's sin are familiar; he SAW, he COVETED, he TOOK.


Eve took the same tragic steps in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”


Throughout this tragic story Achan actually made FOUR mistakes:


First: Achan's first mistake was to LOOK A SECOND TIME at the “spoils.” He probably could not help seeing them the first time, but looking the second time led to coveting. It was the SECOND LOOK that led to sin.


Second: Achan's second mistake was to RECLASSIFY those treasures and call them "spoils," verse 21. They were not spoils. They did not belong to Achan. They belonged to God. Today in our desire to cover over sin we have reclassified sin.


It is no longer a drunkard, it's now a disease.

It is no longer adultery, it's now an affair.


We have no right to change the title of what God calls SIN.


Third: Achan's third mistake was to THINK HE COULD GET AWAY WITH HIS SIN by hiding the loot. Oh, how foolish for Achan to think God could not see what he was doing, when as Hebrews 4:13 tells us, "…all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."


Fourth: Achan’s fourth mistake was to ROB GOD OF THE TITHE. You ask, “What was Achan's sin?” I believe it was the sin of robbing God of the TITHE. Yes, Achan stole the TITHE. The first tenth always belongs unto God. If you recall, Jericho was the first city to be taken in the Promise Land, the spoil of that city belonged to the Lord; all the other cities were for Israel. May I remind you of Malachi 3:8-12,


“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. (9) Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. (10) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (11) And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. (12) And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.”


Are you guilty of Achan's sin, robbing God of the TITHE? If you have God's money burning in your pocket and you keep it, you are as guilty as Achan was here in Joshua 7.


After you have sinned, "WHAT NEXT"? When we commit a sin, the most important thing is what we do next.


If we lose our temper and say something cruel to a family member, what do we do next?

If we mistreat a co-worker, what do we do next?

If we are dwelling on evil thoughts, what do we do next?

If we steal the tithe, what do we do next?


To make excuses justifying our behavior, to blame the other person, or to ignore God is only to add more sin to the first sin. The night before Jesus was crucified, two of his disciples turned against Him.


Judas betrayed Christ; Peter denied Him. But the difference in what they did next was enormous. Peter wept tears of repentance; Judas hanged himself.


Perhaps, the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you through this message about some sin in your life – any sin, it does not matter how big or how small. If so, you are faced with a choice – TO REPENT or TO CONTINUE TO DENY you have a sin problem. Let me leave you with these two passages:


In Psalm 139:23-24 we read, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."


In I John 1:9 we read, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 



If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon “Sin in the Camp brings Defeat and Death” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.


Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in


Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”

Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”


This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”


If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, let me know. Please send an e-mail to and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.


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In His Amazing Grace,

Pastor<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
David Miklas
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