But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the LORD’s anger burned against Israel.
In the UK over the last year or so we have seen lots of scandals around the issue of MPs parliamentary expenses. Quite a number of MPs have claimed more than they should have done; some because they made an honest mistake. Others seem to have been behaving in a more questionable manner, trying their luck at claiming for items they know they probably shouldn’t, but hoping that noone would notice and that they’d get away with it. Of course, the Daily Telegraph newspaper did notice, as did most of the population when the story was reported, and they certainly didn’t get away with it.
In Acts 5, we see the consequences for two people who try to cheat God in a similar way. They claim to have given all the proceeds from a land sale to the church, but actually they have withheld some, hoping that noone would notice. They were unfortunate, because God noticed! The same thing happens in today’s verse; having been victorious against the enemy, the Israelites are expected to make an offering to God. Achan, however, chose to keep some of the bounty for himself, thinking that noone would notice. Well, guess what? God noticed! He was cross not just with Achan but with all the people of Israel for allowing this to happen.
Sometimes we try and keep guilty secrets to ourselves, especially when we know that we have done something that we shouldn’t have done. We should remember, though, that God sees everything we do, and knows everything that we think. We might be able to hide things from people around us, but we can’t hide things from God. Think today about the things that you do that you wouldn’t be comfortable with other people knowing about. Are you comfortable that God knows these things? If so, why not ask for forgiveness, and try and turn over a new lead? Our God sees, but he also forgives if we truly repent!