When One Person Causes Trouble

When One Person Causes Trouble June 27, 2016

When One Person Causes Trouble

June 26, 2016

Joshua 7:16-26


When one person causes trouble, all kinds of things can go wrong. The Israelites were out at war with another neighboring tribe. But the Jews were losing the battle, badly. Joshua goes to pray to God and ask for favor. He asks God to help them. God gives Joshua a big hint: “There is sin in the camp. So sort it out.”

God tells Joshua that someone has taken something that should not have been taken. The phrase used is “set apart.” What it means is that when the people of God would go fight, sometimes they were told not to keep the spoils of war. Instead, they were to destroy the spoils as a sacrifice to God. These items were “set apart” or “devoted” to God because they were His.

It’s not like they were wasting things when they destroyed them. God made them destroy the spoils of war to prevent God’s people from becoming proud. When you take someone else’s stuff, you tend to think more highly of yourself because you destroyed someone else. This attitude could destroy the unity of the people of Israel. Someone may come out and say that they are a better leader than Joshua (for example) was because of the spoils they kept.

So God forced that person out. In a procedure of divine revelation, God showed the Israelites the traitor Achan. He confessed that he had an improper desire (Joshua 7:21).


The little “yeast” of one person’s improper desire prevented the people of God from winning on the battlefield. The same is true for any group. When one person thinks more about himself than for the team, then the team’s efforts suffers. Whether it is a family, a church, a business, a sports team, or any another group, improper desires of coveting for something that is not their own can cloud the team’s efforts. It must be stopped.

In the case of Achan, they killed him. Why? Because as Paul said: “a little bit of yeast can infect the entire batch.” We might say today: “one rotten apple can destroy the entire apple cart.” One person can cause lots of trouble. This is the reason that the place is called “Valley of Achor.” Translated, it means the Valley of Trouble.” Because Achan took something that did not belong to him, many consequences followed. He caused the people of Israel to lose a battle. His act of theft put shame on God’s name. Hiding something that belonged to God brought death to himself and his entire family. That’s just a one example of what can happen when one person causes trouble.

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