7 But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.
2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and spy out the region.” So the men went up and spied out Ai.
3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” 4 So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai,
It was not that Achan found a good use for something that was going to be thrown out anyway. This was a serious offense because it was a direct defiance of an explicit command of God. The result was that many men died. The army melted in fear. Joshua even questioned God. God was going to withdraw his presence, so the sin had to be eliminated from their community. After the sin was eliminated, God’s encouragement returned, his presence was in battle, there was guidance, and victory was promised. God gave the Israelites permission to keep the plunder. Through the history of Israel when they got rid of sin, they experienced blessings. How much trouble they could have avoided had they just kept from sin, but as people, we tend to stray off. Do you have sin in your life? Get rid of it. Stop. Change your ways. Look to God for leadership and guidance. You will also experience blessings when you turn from your sin and follow God’s plan wholeheartedly.