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Friday, November 14, 2014

Achan's Sin (part 3)



Read part 1 and part 2.

When your grandfather was just a child, 10 years old, he fled Jerusalem with his family.

On that day, he woke up to the sound of his parents' loud and frantic voices. Talking about danger and running and "what should we do" and "what do we tell the kids."

"Oh honey," his mother said when she saw he was awake. "We have to leave."

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Joshua brought the people of Israel before him. He drew lots, and the tribe of Judah was chosen.

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"First, we'll go up to Shiloh," your great-grandmother said. "I have cousins there. ... Kids, I'm sorry... get a bag together. We are leaving this morning."

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Joshua drew lots for the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was chosen.

He drew lots for the families of the Zerahites, and Zabdi was chosen.

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Your grandfather did as he was told, though he couldn't understand why. Apparently there was a terrible army out there, coming to kill everyone in Canaan. How? Why? And this army had a God... a God of violence, of greed, a God who would use power to take whatever he could get.

Doesn't anybody care? Doesn't anybody see? Is there a god that would protect the poor, the widows and orphans, the outcasts who fled from their homes?

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Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was chosen.

"God sees everything," Joshua said, in front of the crowd. "Now tell us, Achan, what have you done?"

His mind raced, but he did not open his mouth. He was silent, like a lamb being led to slaughter.

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"Our neighbors are coming with us," said your great-grandfather. "Can you go with them to get the horses?"

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Everything had been sent already, thought Achan. There was no evidence. Oh. Everything except that robe, and some gold and silver that was still in his tent.

He had to do it, he had to take the fall so no one else would get caught. He would carry the sins of all his followers. He alone would bear the wrath of God.

"I have sinned against the Lord," Achan said, his voice shaking. "At the battle of Jericho, I saw a beautiful robe, and some gold and silver, and in my heart I coveted them, and I took them. They are hidden in my tent now."

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Your grandfather and his family packed all that they could carry. He held back tears as he said goodbye to the only home he had ever known.

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There were taunts from the crowd as they pushed Achan, Sarah, their children, and all their belongings outside the camp. Yes, their children too. There is no justice, only God's wrath.

It was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer.

The Israelites picked up stones and threw them with great force, motivated by their devotion to God. They considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

Achan fell to the ground and whispered, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Children, it is because of Achan that your ancestors got out of Jerusalem safely.

The punishment that brought us peace was upon him.

And by his wounds, we are healed.

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Bible fanfiction based on Joshua 6-7

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