Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Achan's Sin (part 1)

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He burst through the door with Joshua's words ringing in his ears: "Kill everything that breathes." Here he was, on a mission from God, in hostile territory. The excitement ran through his entire body as he scanned the room for signs of life.

Aha! What was this blanket in the corner? Yeah, good hiding. Ha. He tore the blanket away and drew his sword. But...


Time seemed to stop, as a little boy looked up at this fierce soldier. Hadn't Joshua said these people were all horrible God-hating violent freaks? Then how was it that this child's big, tearful eyes looked just like his own son's?

Achan stepped back and lowered his sword. Had it all been a lie? What the hell was he even doing here?

"Please, sir..." said a soft voice from behind him. He turned to see a skinny woman in a long dress. She was holding a baby, while another small child hid behind her legs.

Ohhhhh this is wrong. This is so wrong.

But what could he do? He remembered the words, "Kill everything that breathes." Unless...

"Do you know Rahab?" Achan asked the woman. Her expression was a mix of desperation and confusion. She started to say something, but just then the door opened and another soldier came in.

"Wait!" cried Achan as he blocked the man with his shoulder. "These are friends of Rahab's. I have to take them to the south wall with the rest of them."

He turned back to the woman and said, "Come with me. There is one safe place in the city."

Out they went, through the chaos and fighting in the streets. Again and again, Achan explained to the other soldiers, "they're Rahab's family."

His friend Reuben came alongside Achan. "Actually, I found several of Rahab's ... er, long-lost relatives too..."

"Man, what are we doing here?" said Achan. "I didn't know we would be killing children. Well... I guess I did know, but..."

He knocked on Rahab's door and it opened immediately. "Come in come in come in," said shouted, as she grabbed one of the children. As soon as the family had gotten inside what appeared to be a packed room, the door slammed shut again.

"Okay here's what we do," Achan began. "Find out who else hates this mission. Get the women and children and hide them all in Rahab's apartment. And grab anything of value you see- these families are gonna need all the help they can get."

"Wow," answered Reuben. "Wow. You're right, you're so right. I just had no idea I'd turn into a rebel today."


That night, 12 soldiers gathered in Achan's tent. Nervously, Achan stood up to speak.

"We've been sold a lie," he told them. "We all thought we were fighting for a God who was slow to anger and abounding in love. ...And then today... I... I almost killed a child."

Some of the soldiers stared at the floor.

"Anyway, Joshua's got this plan to sweep through the whole land and destroy all the cities. Kill everyone. Next time, there won't be a 'Rahab's house.' What are our options? We can try to stop Joshua from making the attacks. We can warn the inhabitants of the other cities. Any other ideas?"

An older man spoke up, "To be honest, I don't see any good coming from talking to Joshua about this. He's so wrapped up in this religious stuff, about 'God's plan' and how we have a right to this land. He's past the point of being reasoned with.

"And... God is powerful. You saw what happened today. God made the walls fall down. It isn't just Joshua who's hell-bent on genocide. I don't know if we even have a chance."

Achan felt the weight of what he was trying to do. I'm fighting against God, he thought. A God who had, just hours before, murdered countless children.

How could this be happening? How could he fight against God? Well... God had lost all credibility today.

Another man gave his opinion: "I talked with Rahab today, after the battle. She says some of the survivors have family in the nearby towns. Let's send them there- they'll be better off and they can warn the other towns too."

They continued to discuss, and settled on a plan. Soldiers would lead groups of the survivors to the nearby cities and reunite them with family. They'd use the plunder they had snuck out of Jericho to help them start new lives- new lives as refugees, actually, since those cities weren't safe either. It wasn't enough money, but it was a start. They would also meet with the leaders of those nearby cities and try to convince them to evacuate. Yeah, it wasn't fair, it wasn't right, that these people would have to flee their homes. But Joshua's God was unreasonable and unstoppable.


Achan lay in bed and remembered what the spies reported when they first met Rahab. "She says all the residents of the city are melting in fear because of our God!" Yeah. Now he understood. Rahab had bailed on Jericho to save her own skin and her own family. Because Israel's God was stronger. Not because Israel's God was better.

And could he really blame her? At least she had used her special-exception status to save a bunch of children that day.

I wonder what Jericho's god was like, thought Achan. Maybe he was slow to anger and abounding in love.

To be continued...


  1. Random Former Methodist ReaderNovember 12, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    I thought it was "Rahab", not "Rehab". But either way, can't wait for the next part.

  2. Oh my goodness, I can't believe I missed that. Thanks. :)