I just read Joshua 7 for the first time ever, and I have some questions. At the end of Joshua 7:12 NIV Bible says "God says "I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction."
But back in Joshua 1:5, God said "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (although it was made specific to Joshua, much like Moses, to the best of my current understanding). Later in Hebrews 13:5 it's presented more universally rather than a rhema word to Moses/Joshua when it says "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." I did make special note of the FIRST PART of Hebrews 13:5 though, which states "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said..."
That said, it was clear and undeniable that Achan coveted the robe from Babylonia, the gold wedge and silver. It was a bad thing he did to plunder it and hide it in his family housing. I am not denying that or even implying what he did was OK.
My "trouble" I guess you could say, is the fact that he and his entire family got stoned. It just seemed a bit harsh to me. I know this is the Old Testament where God is not as "loving" as He is in the New Testament (this is a correct generalization, yes?) but what about God meeting us at the point of our needs? What about the part of God that restores us, especially when we follow 1 John 1:9 which states, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
And as I read Joshua 7, all this was going through my mind. Achan did confess! Joshua 7:20-21 Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."
Why wasn't he and his family restored, but had to be stoned? Is this simply a matter of "Well, this was the Old Testament where God was a bit more harsh in serving His judgment?" What about 1 John 1:9? How come it didn't apply to Achan and his family?
When God said he wouldn't be with Joshua and his people anymore unless he destroys whatever among them is devoted to destruction -- doesn't that contradict God's promise to never leave or forsake?
I'm not trying to argue, just trying to wrap my "baby Christian" mind around it. (I got saved summer 2009). Just the things I read in this chapter called "Achan's Sin" seem to go against what I learned with Hebrews 13:5 and 1 John 1:9. I guess another question is, if God is the same yesterday, today and forevermore, does He now restore people rather than have them killed?
Sorry this may be a lot of heavy questions for one topic. But thank you in advance for your thoughts and sharings. I just hear pastors nowadays going "God will never leave you nor forsake you! He will restore you when you repent and make right with Him!" Well, I see in verses 20 and 21 Achan confessed. We don't know how repentful he really was I guess (the Bible doesn't seem to speak to that part of his heart), but he did confess. I was just shocked in the next couple paragraphs Achan and his whole family was stoned instead of restored. I guess that's why people talk about the "wrath" of God in the OT whereas in the NT He's more of a "loving graceful merciful" God.
I guess when we eventually get to Heaven we can ask God ourselves about Achan. I also guess we can generalize in some way that while God's love is unconditional, there ARE severe consequences indeed for sinning against Him and breaking His law, after all He gave His one and only son for us so we may have abundant and eternal life, blameless when we confess. It just seems to me Achan confessed and was still put to the fire. I also wonder if, after he was stoned, did he and his family go to Heaven or Hell? Perhaps Achan's story is a reminder to all of us to not test God's unconditional love, that just because we receive endless grace that does not allow us to keep sinning because sin separates us from Him. Still, it seemed to me Achan made 3 sins (robe, gold, silver) and it was in a moment of weakness -- just seemed overly harsh to have him stoned rather than restored.