Anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.
Have you ever been tempted to cheat? Have you ever seen something you couldn’t resist so you took it? Then you should hear Achan’s story:
“I didn’t mean to do it—it never entered my head to take it until I saw it. I am an Israelite soldier in Joshua’s army. We just spent the most amazing week marching around the city Jericho with its huge walls. The people of Jericho were on top of the wall, watching us march around the city for six days. Then on the seventh day suddenly the trumpets sounded, we all shouted, and the great walls began collapsing. I rushed into the city and started fighting. We were ordered to go into the homes and bring out anything valuable that could be devoted to the LORD to thank him for this victory.
Joshua told us to keep nothing for ourselves, and that’s what I was doing until I entered one house and saw the most beautiful robe from Babylonia I had ever seen. I was alone and I took the robe and some gold home with me. I hid it underneath my tent. No one would ever know…”
Was it a secret? No way—God, who sees everything, knew exactly what Achan had taken and where he had hidden the robe. God refused to give the Israel army any more victories until this disobedience was handled. Joshua, who had no idea what Achan had stolen, had each family of Israel come before him. When Achan’s family stood before Joshua, God told Joshua that Achan was the one who had sinned. Achan admitted his secret, and then Achan and his entire family were punished with death.
Achan thought no one would ever know what he had done—it was his little secret. Yet, Achan’s little secret led to big consequences for his family and for Israel. What about you? Then next time a little secret tempts you, run away! Run as fast as you can. Nothing ever stays a little secret—it always leads to consequences for you and for others. Flee temptation is a good motto for avoiding bad secrets!