It was a business not to be delayed. The sooner sin is found out and put away the better. Nobody would rest long if he knew his house to be on fire, but sin is a far worse evil than the devouring flame,
Joshua 7:17, 18
Achan may at first have laughed at the idea of his being detected, but when the tribe of Judah was taken, he must have felt ill at ease; when the Zarhites were taken, fear must have seized him, and his terror must have been extreme when at last the lot fell on his father’s family. By some means sin will be brought home to the guilty individual, and what will be his horror when the finger of God points directly at him with a “thou art the man.”
Joshua urged the criminal to confess. His detection was certain, and he gave him the wisest counsel a judge can give to a condemned man, namely, to do his best to justify God in punishing him by acknowledging his fault.
He saw, he coveted, he took, he hid, he was detected, convicted, and condemned. See here in brief “the Sinner’s Progress.”
What use could buried gold and garments be? The man was foolish as well as wicked. Illgotten goods are not true riches.
This terrible punishment may have been the more needful, because at the outset of their history in Canaan it was necessary to impress the people with the fact that God would not be trifled with, but would have his laws respected.
Let this heap of stones be a monumental warning to us. Have we any hidden sin within our hearts? Are any of this household indulging evil passions or following wrong courses in secret? If so, be sure your sin will find you out. The only way of escape is a penitent confession to God, and a believing cry to the Lord Jesus for pardon.
Sins and follies unforsaken,
All will end in deep despair;
Formal prayers are unavailing,
Fruitless is the worldling’s tear;
Small the number
Who to wisdom’s path repair.
If, lurking in its inmost folds,
I any sin conceal,
Oh let a ray of light divine
That secret guile reveal.
If, tinctured with that odious gall,
Unknowing I remain,
Let grace, like a pure silver stream,
Wash out the accursed stain.