Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley (and Mims Turley)

Lessons for life from the Bible – Day 6

Fight for justice

Bible text(s)

15When justice is done, good people are happy, but evil people are brought to despair.

Proverbs 21:15GNBOpen in Bible reader

Justice is not easily won. It only takes one man’s sin to bring calamity to a nation and cause his people pain and suffering. Such a man was Achan.

Achan was among Joshua’s people when they conquered Jericho. They were told that everything in the city had to be devoted to the Lord. Joshua instructed them to take nothing. To do so, would bring the wrath of God’s judgement both on Israel and themselves. “All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.” (Joshua 6:19)

Achan disobeyed God and stole some of the booty and as a result, the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. (Joshua 7:1) In their next battle against Ai, Joshua’s men were routed and 36 were killed.

Joshua and his elders pleaded with God to reveal why Israel had been defeated. “God angrily told them. Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.” (Joshua 7:11)

Joshua, with his elders, assembled the twelve tribes. The tribe of Judah was singled out. Joshua cross-examined each family and Achan confessed his guilt.

Joshua’s men retrieved the stolen goods which Achan had buried in his tent. They took the treasure back to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the Lord. (Joshua 7:23)

Then they took Achan and all he possessed, together with the stolen goods, to the valley of Achor. There they stoned and burned Achan, his family and his livestock, before burying them with the stolen booty under a huge pile of stones.

Only then did the Lord turn from his anger.

The fate of Achan is a salutary reminder that our God is a God of justice. Like Joshua and his elders, we too must make a stand against the evils in our society. As Edmund Burke (1729-1779) said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Bible Society of South Africav.4.14.1
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