Joshua 7:10
But the LORD said to Joshua, "Stand up! Why have you fallen on your face?
Covetousness in the ChurchJames Parsons.Joshua 7:10-15
Get Thee UpS. Martin.Joshua 7:10-15
God's Part in the WarJ. E. Cumming, D. D.Joshua 7:10-15
God's Voice to the DespondingHomilistJoshua 7:10-15
Secret SinJames Dunk.Joshua 7:10-15
Secret Sin DiscoveredJ. M. Sherwood, D. D.Joshua 7:10-15
Sin a Reproach and HindranceW. Battersby, M. A.Joshua 7:10-15
The Punishment of SinJ. G. Breay, B. A.Joshua 7:10-15
The Sinfulness of SinF. G. Marchant.Joshua 7:10-15

By the narrative before us we are reminded of several characteristics of sin.

I. IT DISOBEYS A COMMANDMENT. Only two precepts had been issued at the sacking of Jericho, one to spare Rahab and her family, another to "keep from the accursed thing," and the latter precept was broken. The command was distinct, unmistakable; no difficulty in comprehending its import. Scripture defines sin as the "transgression of the law." "By the law is the knowledge of sin." A prohibition tests man's obedience perhaps even more than an injunction to perform some positive act. The tempter easily lays hold of it, keeps it before the eye, irritates man's self will, and insinuates doubts respecting the reason of the prohibition. Christ endorsed the moral law of the old dispensation - nay, made it even more stringent; but He altered the principle of obedience, or, better still, increased the power of the motives to compliance. When we sin we still transgress a law, and sins of wilful commission are, in number, out of all proportion to sins of ignorance.

II. SIN IS OFTEN THE EFFECT OF COVETOUS DESIRES. - Achan saw, coveted, and took (ver. 21). The seeing was innocent; the dwelling on the object of sight with desire was sinful. "Coveted" is the same word as used in Genesis 3:6. "Saw... a tree to be desired." "When lust (desire) hath conceived it bringeth forth sin." The outward object has no power to make us fall except as it corresponds to an inward affection. If the object be gazed upon long, the affection may be inordinately excited, and desire produce sinful action. Hence the counsel of the wise man regarding "the path of the wicked: .... Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." It is not mixing in the world to perform our duties that is reprobated, nor even that amount of care which shall secure us an honourable position therein; but such an intent fixing of the eye upon riches, honour, pleasure, as denotes a love of the world and the things that are in it. Our affection must be set on things above as the best preservation against the influence of unholy passions; for where the heart is occupied, there evil finds it hard to effect a lodgment.

III. SIN ROBS GOD. - All the metals were to be brought to the treasury, to be dedicated to the use of Jehovah (Joshua 6:19). But Achan wished to appropriate a portion to his own ends, thus taking what belonged to God. He set up self in opposition to his God. Sin deprives God not only of gold, but of honour, love, obedience, and the use of those talents committed to men, that they may be faithful servants and stewards, not sordid proprietors. From the sinner's heart ascends no sweet incense of faith and love; in the household of the worlding there is no family altar with its grateful offering of prayer and praise; the body of the unbeliever, instead of being a temple of God, is part of the kingdom of darkness.

IV. SIN IMPLIES A DELIGHT IN WHAT GOD ABOMINATES. The possessions of the Canaanites were placed under the ban; they were denominated "the accursed thing." The Babylonish garment was to have been burnt, and the silver and gold could only be redeemed from the curse by being set apart for sacred uses. The very fact that the Almighty had condemned the property should have been sufficient to deter any one from seeking to seize it. And so with us; regard for our Father in heaven ought at once to make us shun what He has declared hateful, and look upon it with aversion; and belief in His unerring discernment should cause us readily to acquiesce in His judgment, even if at first sight the places and practices condemned do not appear hideous or sinful. The grievous nature of sin is evinced in its betrayal of a hankering after what the laws of God denounce, and consequently its revelation of a character differing from that of God, loving what is unlovely in His sight.

V. SIN IN GOD S PEOPLE IS A VIOLATION OF A COVENANT. Achan had transgressed the "covenant" (vers. 11 and 15), or, as it is expressed in ver. 1, had "committed a trespass " - i.e., a breach of trust - had acted faithlessly. Jericho, as the first city taken, was to be made an example of, and therefore none of the spoil was to accrue to the Israelites, but the plunder of other cities was to be allowed to enrich them. Yet Achan disregarded the understood agreement. Nor must it be forgotten that Israel stood in a peculiar relationship to the Almighty, who promised to bless them if they adhered to the terms of the covenant, which required them to be very obedient unto every commandment which the Lord should give by the mouth of His accredited messengers. A similar covenant is reaffirmed under the gospel dispensation, only it is pre-eminently a covenant of grace, not of works. Jesus died that they who lived should henceforth live unto Him who died for them. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all other things shall be added unto you," was the stipulation of the great Teacher. To "sin wilfully" is to count the blood of the covenant wherewith we axe sanctified an unholy thing (Hebrews 10:29). Jesus is the Mediator of a "new covenant." The same epistle concludes with a prayer that the God who, in virtue of the blood of the everlasting covenant, raised Christ from the dead, may perfect His people in every good work, that thus on both sides the "conditions" may be observed.

VI. SECRECY IS THE USUAL ACCOMPANIMENT OF SIN. Achan did not wear the "garment" or exhibit the "gold," but hid his plunder "in the earth in the midst of his tent" (ver. 21). The attempt to cloak sin may arise either from a feeling of shame, or from the fear of detection and punishment. This last is a baser motive than the first. Shame is an evidence that the man is not wholly bad, that the voice of conscience has not been totally silenced. That after the Fall our first parents did not set their faces;like a flint was a testimony that evil had not acquired complete mastery over them. Oh that men visited with these compunctions of conscience would attend to the self attesting nature of sin! We may rejoice in the endeavour to conceal crimes, so far as it indicates that society is not yet so corrupt as unblushingly to acknowledge sin as such. Since God mentions the "dissembling" of Achan as aggravating his offence, it is probable that he was afraid of the vengeance which discovery would bring upon his head. Already sin was inflicting its punishment. There could not be open, unrestrained fruition of ill-gotten gains. Rejoicing naturally demands the presence of others to share our joy, and by participation to increase the common stock; but there can be no such gathering to greet the result of sins, for they -

"The cloak of night being plucked from off their backs,
Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves." Conclusion. Thankfulness for a Saviour, born to "save his people from their sins," the Light of the world revealing our natural dark, degraded condition, but bringing to us, if we will bask in His rays, knowledge, purity, and happiness. "God be merciful to me a sinner," the prelude to "They shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy." - A.

Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
To trust God is manifestly our duty. We are commanded to put our trust in Him. Trust in God is also a crowning means of safety and prosperity. Exceedingly great and precious promises are made to confidence in God. Watch over and cherish your trust in God. Cherish it by the study of the promises of your God. Cherish it by intercourse with God; and make this trust in God strong by giving it plenty of work to do. The more you exercise this principle, the stronger will it become. Trust in God is a manifest duty. But there are other obligations. We are under obligations to personal exertion. To trust is one duty; to exert ourselves is another: and although some persons would think that these two things cannot work together, they not only can, but they do work together in the experience and in the life of every man who is really walking with his God. Joshua, as you know, was leading the people forward to the entire conquest of Canaan. God has shown Israel's captain marvellous deliverances, and, as is common in our own life, after these wonderful deliverances there comes a check. And so entirely does this prostrate him, that God his helper has to rebuke him, and say to him in the language of rebuke, "Get thee up: wherefore liest thou upon thy face?" Now, it strikes me that there are not a few who are in the position of Joshua.

1. In the first place, there is the doubter, depressed and paralysed by his doubts. I say to that man, "Get up — get thee up, and inquire — get thee up, and call upon God — get thee up and search the book of God — get thee up and think, and meditate — get thee up and converse with sober, intelligent, wise, kind-hearted, Christlike disciples." Follow out your beliefs, and speak of that which you know. Then deal with your doubts. Do not let these doubts tarry. Do not let them become normal and constitutional. Regard them as a something to be taken away from your heart if possible.

2. We might, also, address these words to those who have fainted under the struggles of life. The words of those who have fainted in the day of adversity are such words as these, "All things are against me." "I shall one day fall by the hand of mine enemy." "Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency." Well, under depressing thoughts like these, those who have become weary in the struggle of life sink into prostration; and we say to such, "Get thee up." Out of most troubles there is a present way of escape, and a future way out of them all. Your trouble may be poverty. Why conclude that God means you to be poor all your days? Get up, and look if there be a way out of that poverty. Your trouble may be bodily weakness and sickness. Why conclude that you are to be an invalid all your days? Get thee up, and look. See if there be a way of escape from this bodily infirmity. Out of many of our troubles there is, I say, a way of escape; but we require to get up, and to look for the way of escape. All that we require in such circumstances is strength to wait. The working together of the various events of life is of course a process. That very idea of working together involves a succession of effects and of results. The good must come.

3. Perhaps, too, there is that class of person known by the common name of backslider. It is a serious thing to go back. But the man who has gone back is not in a hopeless state. He ought not to despair. Thanks be to God, I can appeal to your hope. I can in the name of God say, "Return unto the Lord, and He will return to you." He will heal your backsliding; He will love you freely; He will be as the dew to you, and you shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine. Only, only, return to the Lord.

4. Those who are hindered and disheartened in their godly enterprises, as were many of the companions of Nehemiah, in connection with the work of rebuilding the city and rebuilding the temple. Now God sent Haggai to say to the people, in substance, just what He said to Joshua, "Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?" — for by His prophet God spake thus: "Is it time for you to dwell in coiled houses while God's house lies waste?" "Get thee up: wherefore liest thou upon thy face?" Now, just see that self-prostration and inertness are wrong. For, in the first place, it is God who speaks to us thus: "Get thee up"; God, whose power is almighty; God, whose resources are unsearchable riches; God, who is ever working to keep us up, and to lift us up, and who, when He has helped us ten thousand times, has His hands stretched out to help us still; God, who proffers His interposition to the weak and to the needy. And He speaks, observe, to our will, and to our hearts. By the use of these words He is seeking to work confidence, resolution, and determination. "Get thee up." He is appealing to our hopes, that He may comfort us by hope. There is no evil for which there is no remedy. The position, therefore, of a man of God is not that of prostration. Even when he is confessing his sins, his position is not that of prostration. Prostration is not his posture. His right position is to stand up like a man before God. Oh! do not thus lie prostrate on your faces. Do not yield to your despondency and despair. I speak to you men of God, and I may say to you, "All is right. All is right in Heaven concerning you: and if there be things wrong down here, Heaven can set them right." It may be, too, that there is some accursed thing that is producing your present perplexities and your present difficulties. I know not what that accursed thing may be. Perhaps it is sinful trust in yourselves; perhaps it is undue reliance on your fellow-creatures; perhaps you have done wrong ill endeavouring to obtain an instrumentality to assist you that is not holy, and that is not heaven-approved. What the accursed thing may be a little honest inquiry will soon discover. By the power of God, I say, get rid of it; but, even before you get rid of it, get up. You cannot see the accursed thing while you are thus spiritually prostrate. You cannot see what you ought to do while you are thus spiritually prostrate. Whatever may be the cause of your present difficulty and depression, it is your duty to get up, and stand before God upright as a man.

(S. Martin.)


1. Examples: Jacob, Elijah, David, &c.

2. The causes of despondency are numerous: remorse, disappointment, forebodings, failure, &c.


1. Regrets for the past are useless. What is done cannot be undone.

2. There is urgent work to do. Resolute, earnest activity is required.

3. Despondency exhausts strength and unfits for work. Despair unstrings nerves, relaxes muscles, prostrates energies.

4. Effort will shake off the oppressive load, and give fresh energy to your soul.


Israel hath sinned,...
I. THE SUCCESSIVE STAGES OF SIN. "When Achan longed, he ought to have resisted; when he planned, he ought to have stopped before taking; when he had taken, he should have cast it away instead of stealing; when he had stolen, he should have freely confessed it; and when it was buried he ought to have dug it up again."


1. It was a transgression of righteousness: "Israel hath sinned."

2. It was a transgression of the law of gratitude. Achan ignored the covenant altogether.

3. It was a transgression of God's word: "Which I commanded them."

4. It was the transgression of good faith. Under the specific condition of not touching the spoil, the victory had been granted, and Achan had "even taken of the cherem."

5. It was a transgression of honesty and truth: "They have stolen and dissembled also."

6. It was a transgression of Achan's own conscience. Had he not felt it wrong to put the devoted things "among his own stuff," he would not have hidden them.



1. In Divine omniscience. Had he really believed that God saw him, he could not have taken of the spoil.

2. In Divine punishment. Had he been convinced that he would have been "devoted," he would have resisted the temptation.

3. In the Divine Word. To disbelieve in the punishment was to disbelieve Him who had threatened to destroy.

(F. G. Marchant.)

We have a mournful interest in sin. Three characteristics of sin are seen in Achan —

1. Sin is secret; that is, from men, not from God.

2. Sin is gradual. Captivates the senses: "I saw." Captivates the desires: "I coveted." Captivates the soul: "I took."

3. Sin is the herald of a curse: "The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked." Note its effects.


1. Changed the hero into a coward. His heart became as water.

2. Changed the man of faith to a doubter (ver. 7).

3. This in spite of his Divine call and his great ability. So secret sin affects the leaders of the Church to-day.


1. Changed victors into victims. They fled from before At. Sin is weakness as well as wicked ness. Sin deters the progress of the Church.

2. This in spite of the Divine covenant. That covenant was to give the land to the true sons of Abraham- the faithful: "If ye be willing and obedient," &c.

3. This, too, in spite of previous victory at Jericho. They won at Jericho, for they were all sanctified. They failed at Ai, for there was sin in the camp. One secret sinner may ruin a Church's worth.

III. ON ACHAN — THE SINNER. Did not sin gain for him much spoil? Yes — and more. He got gold and brave apparel, but he also got for his secret sin —

1. Public shame.

2. Public punishment. Sad as are the effects on others, the secret sinner feels them most of all.The remedy is —

1. Not inactive grief: "Wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?" (ver. 10).

2. Active search for hidden sin (ver. 13).

3. Entire sanctification of all (ver. 13).

(James Dunk.)

Sin as a rule is committed under a false and pernicious impression, namely —

(1)That it will never be known, or

(2)if found out, in some way punishment will be avoided.If sinners did not deceive themselves on these points there would not be half the sin in the world there is.

I. THERE IS AND CAN BE NO SECRET THING IN GOD'S UNIVERSE. Every sin, though no human eye or ear takes cognisance of it, is seen as soon as conceived by the all-seeing eye. That sin a secret when high Heaven knows it all!

II. THERE IS IN SIN ITSELF THE ELEMENT OF EXPOSURE AND RETRIBUTION. Sin, like every other natural and moral force, works out certain results, physical, spiritual, and moral, and those results are not under man's control; they are the developments of law. The transgressor is impotent. He cannot stay the Almighty Hand, which, by means of the law of cause and effect, has its firm grip upon him. He is no longer master of himself, much less of his secret. And a thousand influences are working upon him and closing in upon him, all tending to disclosure and final retribution.


1. His physical laws. They even cry out against sin, as in the case of the inebriate, the glutton, the adulterer, &c. The heavens and the earth conspire to track and fasten guilt upon the murderer.

2. His moral law. Under its flashes and thunder peals many a guilty soul has quaked and been driven to confession or suicide. Conscience, echoing God's law, makes cowards of sinners; makes life an insupportable burden, drives them from home and makes them wanderers on the earth, as Cain was.

3. His providential law. A thousand agencies and forces are set to work to expose and punish transgression as soon as it is committed. Earth, air and water, science, art, and human law, all furnish evidence to point out and convict the criminal and bring him to judgment.

(J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)

1. How necessary to Christian success is the presence of God.

2. When that presence is withheld, there is generally a cause.

3. When the presence of God is withheld, the Christian should be humbled and make inquiry before God.

4. Sin is the cause of the Divine displeasure, and must be searched out.

5. Mark the progress of sin. He who parleys with sin is half-way towards embracing it.

6. Behold the fatal termination of sin.

(J. G. Breay, B. A.)

Sin, that accursed thing which God hates is a hindrance and a reproach to any people, viewed either as a nation or as individuals.

I. LET US LOOK AT THE SIN OF THE JEWS, AS A NATION, IN PERSISTING TO DESPISE AND REJECT JESUS OF NAZARETH. Now, what a shame and reproach are the Jews exposed to for their sin in rejecting Christ, the anointed of God! From what rich blessings also are they excluded in consequence of their not admitting Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and the Saviour of the world! What an accursed thing, too, is the sin of idolatry to any nation! Those people who are ignorant of the one living and true God, through Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, and who are bowing down to stocks and to stones, are in the lowest state of misery and degradation. But further. Those nations which are professedly Christian nations are frequently seen to encourage some great evil, which operates against their prosperity, and which is a reproach to them. In no country which is called a Christian country should any laws be enacted which are likely to be detrimental to the religion of Christ. Now, whenever this is the case, it is a reproach to any people, and a great hindrance to their prosperity and comfort.

II. We come now to A CLOSER APPLICATION OF OUR SUBJECT, AND TO CONSIDER IT IN REFERENCE. TO INDIVIDUALS. You are all Christians by profession. But remember, "He is not a Jew which is one outwardly." Are ye living in the commission of gross sins and scandalous vices, while ye claim, in virtue of your baptism, to be the children of God, and heirs according to the promise? Ye are a reproach to the Lord's people, and a cause to them of much sorrow and anguish of heart. Remember that a day is coming when He, who is at present waiting, on thy true repentance, to be gracious unto thee and to save thee, will appear as thy terrible adversary to destroy thee. But further. May not sin, the accursed thing, in some degree be found among the real servants of God as well as among His enemies? How important, then, and necessary is it that believers should be continually aiming to mortify the remains of inbred corruption, and to be fortifying themselves against the inroads of sin by following after righteousness and holiness of life.

(W. Battersby, M. A.)

Neither will I be with
I. SUCCESS IN WAR IS A BLESSING WHICH IS GIVEN BY GOD. By this I mean that it does not depend only on the armaments which are fitted out, or the perfection of our war machinery, or the number of our troops, or the sagacity of our leaders, or the power of our enemy, whether we shall be successful in the end. It is clearly told us in Scripture — so clearly that there is no excuse for the man who disbelieves it — that God keeps the ultimate results of war entirely in His own hand. Perhaps there is no other department of human affairs in which Jehovah has so frequently in Scripture asserted His prerogative as that of war. "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong." And once more we find that Jehovah retains for Himself the name of Commander over all the armies of the earth.

II. SO LONG AS WE CHERISH SIN, WE CANNOT EXPECT GOD TO GRANT US SUCCESS IN WAR. I do not mean to say that success is always given to the holiest — that victory is the guarantee of rectitude and defeat the sign of sin; for God ofttimes tries His people by afflictions, and permits the wicked for a time to prosper. We are not sufficient judges of these things. But the only ground on which we can well expect the blessing of success from God is, surely, that of walking uprightly before Him; and when we cherish sin wilfully and consciously within our breasts, neither this nor any other blessing can we expect Jehovah to bestow upon us. It was the sin of one man in the camp. It is the same with us. For public and national sins we are indeed called to mourn this day. They form a long black roll. They are too many for enumeration. But we have also our private, our individual sins to mourn. They are concerned in our disasters. There has been a vainglorious boasting — a self-sufficient confidence in the prowess of our soldiers, and the irresistible force of our arms, as if we could not fail. We thought we were presenting to the world an unequalled spectacle. We have not been relying, as a nation, upon the help and sufficiency of Jehovah. Until we come to a more fitting state of heart — till our self-confidence be less — till our recognition of Jehovah be more — till we feel that we are less than nothing and vanity — till we feel that all our sufficiency is of God — we can by no means look that the Omnipotent should scatter our foes before us and humble them in the dust.

(J. E. Cumming, D. D.)

I. A HEINOUS TRANSGRESSION WAS COMMITTED. Some pursue the acquisition of wealth with quiet plodding industry, not appearing to be the subjects of much excitement, but associating greediness with wariness and caution, never permitting themselves to swerve from the contemplation of the end, or the employment of the means for attaining to it. Others, again, in the emphatic language of Scripture, have "hasted to be rich." The appetite has been suddenly and uncontrollably kindled, either by a combination of internal suggestions or by the fatal facilities and opportunities which of late have been so signally multiplied. It must, however, here be remembered that there are other forms of covetousness besides that which consists in the craving and the pursuit of wealth. The love of fame, the love of power, and the love of sensual pleasure — all these constitute covetousness; and such covetousness also we conceive to have intruded itself much into the hearts of the professing people of God.


1. Observe the consequence, as relating to the individual himself. God, by virtue of His essential omniscience, was aware of the perpetration of the sin; notwithstanding its concealment He saw it done, and He instantly arranged a series of events, by which, in the most impressive manner, there might be immediate detection, and then condign and adequate punishment. There is nothing but what is naked and manifest before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do; and as God knows the sin, so also God punishes the sin. Sometimes He punishes covetousness, when it is remarkably revolting in its operations, by judgments similar to the one which is recorded here — the abrupt termination of life, either by the hands of men or by judgments from His own power, which cannot be misapprehended or mistaken. Or, frequently, God punishes covetousness by mental anxiety and dissatisfaction; by the loss of that for which they have craved, so that it becomes to them as though it had never been; by social disgrace, contempt and dishonour; by the ruin of bodily and intellectual health, and by an abandonment to remorse and despair. Always God punishes covetousness, when it constitutes and is cherished to the last as a master passion, by an exclusion from His favour, and from the abodes of His celestial glory. Ye professing Christians see to it that, under the cloak of your religion, you hide nothing and cherish nothing of a spirit which is deadly wherever it is indulged. And let us all endeavour, with constant anxiety, to remember that "God will not be mocked"; and that "it is a fearful thing" to fall into His hands.

2. Again, we are also to trace the consequences, as relating to the community to which the individual belonged. For important reasons, the welfare of the whole people of Israel was affected by the individual transgression. You will now be prepared for the statement we have simply to advance — that the prosperity of the Christian Church has been much checked, and that its progress has been grievously retarded, by the covetousness and by the worldly conformity of those who have professed to be connected with it.

III. A MOMENTOUS DUTY WAS REQUIRED. It was that the people should "put away the accursed thing" from them.

1. There is comprehended here uncompromising separation from all that is polluted and pernicious.

2. There must also be devoted engagement in direct effort for the advancement of the Divine glory. There ought to be, throughout the whole of the Christian Church, one spirit of devoted, unwearied, and incessant activity in the proclamation of the unsearchable riches of Christ. And, in connection with personal labour, there must be pecuniary contribution. The property which has been vouchsafed to man as a stewardship is to be taken away from the service of mammon, and devoted to the service of the Saviour, is to be taken away from the service of Satan and devoted to the service of God, and of souls, and of salvation. There must also be prayerfulness — incessant and persevering prayerfulness — prayer involving matters as wide as the universe can supply; that our own souls may be spiritually established, and may prosper; that the souls of our fellow-saints may be aroused, revived, and preserved.

(James Parsons.)

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