If he had only waited…

The Israelites had been routed by the small town of Ai because the man Achan had sinned against the Lord.  And when he sinned, it affected the whole community.  (Isn’t that sobering!)

Achan was discovered, he was stoned for his sin and the community was restored to right relationship with the Lord.

It was because of envy for greater things that Achan had violated the Lord’s commands.  But here is the kicker.  When they went to conquer Ai, the Lord gave them permission to take whatever they wanted.

You may plunder its spoil and livestock for yourselves.” (Joshua 8:2).

If Achan had just waited until the next battle, he would have been able to take and have what his heart desired.  But he didn’t trust the Lord to give him good things, so he took what didn’t belong to him.  Ugh.

That really is how envy and covetousness works.  It’s rooted in impatient and lack of trusting the Lord for good things.  Nothing has changed.  We do this when

  • We go into debt getting something instead of saving and waiting patiently to acquire it
  • We make compromises in relationships instead of waiting for the right circumstances and time
  • We try to work our own miracles instead of waiting on the Lord to help us with them

And again, it is rooted in our lack of trust in the Lord to provide us with good things.  We, like children, want them now or in our time, not the Lord’s time.  And that can lead to disaster.  Just ask Abraham.

Abraham gave up waiting, compromised with Hagar, and the Arabs and Israelites to this day still war against each other (Gen 16).  Just click on any news channel.

But waiting and trusting, even if it is a long, long, long time, is better than compromising.  We never know what the Lord may have for us.

The Israelites who did wait on the Lord were rewarded.  They went on to conquer Ai with the Lord’s strategies, and like we said, the Lord gave them permission to take any and all of the spoils.

If only Achan had waited.