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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Achan's Sin (part 2)

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Read part 1 here.

"I'm so nervous. I can't do this today."

"Honey, you have to go. You can do some good."

"I can't though," Achan sighed and stared at his sword and armor. "In Ai, we actually are going to kill everyone. There's no loophole this time. No excuse. I can't... Children, women- even the men there are just fighting to protect their families. Nobody in Ai deserves to die."

His wife Sarah reminded him, "Remember what you said to the other soldiers last night? You guys have a plan. You have to go and get as much plunder as possible. We need it, remember?" She was always so practical, but he wondered if she could really understand how it felt to be on the battlefield.

She continued, "And a bunch of people have left Ai already. You've done a good job." It was true. Achan and 12 other soldiers had organized groups of people to go warn the other cities and provide them with some supplies to help evacuate people. Achan hadn't gone with them, but from what he heard, it was a tough sell. How do you get people to leave their homes- forever- and just because there's a God who wants them gone? A God so powerful and so unreasonable. He can't be stopped. It's not fair; no, this is not a God of justice.

It's not fair, but the Canaanites either had to flee from their cities, or stay and be massacred. And Achan, Sarah, and their followers were doing everything possible to help them flee.

"I'll be here with some of the other wives and servants," she continued. "We'll get everything packed up today. As soon as you get back with the plunder, we can send groups to warn Gibeon and Jerusalem."

Her confidence inspired him. He finished putting on his armor and went out the door to take his stand against God.

------------------

The Israelite army arrived at the gates of Ai, and the battle began. Achan held back and told himself not to cry. He saw the swords flying and the way the soldiers yelled, but all he could think about was the fathers protecting their children. Those soldiers of Ai didn't look so fierce and dangerous. They were just acting out of love for their families. Wouldn't any of the Israelite men do the exact same thing? How is it that God is on our side and not theirs?

Okay, get in, try not to be noticed, grab anything valuable, Achan thought to himself. Should I move closer to the center of the fighting, so I can actually get in to the city? Ah, no rush. Not yet.

But instead of the Israelite army pushing into the city, they were being pushed back. What was happening? The noise from Ai's army grew even louder, and suddenly Achan saw people running. Oh my goodness, Ai actually knows how to fight! Achan was shocked, and as he retreated along with the rest of Israel's army, he wondered what in the world happened. They were supposed to always win. They had God on their side.

Could God be stopped after all?

Wow, maybe there was a chance to stop this whole genocide mission. He'd have to see what the other soldiers thought about it. Achan's mind raced. Maybe Ai's god was slow to anger and abounding in love, and powerful.

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"Achan! You're back so early! You did go to the battle, right? Why aren't you carrying any plunder?" Sarah said as he arrived at their tent.

"We lost."

"You... oh! Really? How? God is on Joshua's side. ... Really?"

"We have to rethink the whole plan. Before, I was assuming that God was unstoppable. I saw what happened with the walls at Jericho. But...maybe we shouldn't be telling people to evacuate after all."

Later that night, he gathered the other soldiers together to figure out what to do.

"Looks like God's not really all-powerful," Achan addressed the group. "I want to thank you all for the work you've been doing against God. Maybe there is some way to end the invasion."

One of the soldiers spoke up, "There's a rumor going around that Joshua thinks God abandoned our army because of some sin. They're going to start investigating. We have to hide what we're doing. I say we get the supplies we have sent out tonight."

"But if we do send groups to the next two cities, what will we tell them?" another man asked. "Before, we were giving this very serious warning: You need to evacuate. But now, well, what should they do?"

In the end, they came to the decision to send people with the same urgent warning to evacuate. Later, when the situation became more clear, maybe they would change the message.

There was hope now, thought Achan. Maybe God could be stopped.

To be continued...

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