Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Coveting: The Socially Acceptable Sin

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-10097474Joshua 7, a sobering chapter deals with sin in the Israelite camp. It begins with a sin committed by Achan, one member of the tribe of Judah.

When the Israelites took the city of Jericho as recorded in chapter 6, God tells them not to take anything from the siege. But, Achan disobeys and takes some of the “accursed” things and then lies about it. Not only does he lie, but his entire family goes along with the lie. When Achan is confronted, he continues to lie, then eventually confesses. The cover up was because of clothing and money he coveted.

Coveting is covered in the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses. Achan’s sin was coveting, but that also lead to deception. Achan saw, coveted and took. Then he lied. As a consequence, Achan and his entire family were stoned to death, burned and made into a rock memorial to remind people to obey God’s commandments.

In Joshua 7, the nature of sin is clearly spelled out. Sin is deceptive, it hurts others whether we think it does or not, it stirs God’s anger and it weakens us in battle.

Achan’s punishment is harsh, but it speaks to a healthy fear of the Lord. Sin is nothing to fool with in terms of its consequences.

According to Webster, coveting is an inordinate desire for what belongs to another. Think about that. Most advertising is built on this premise. We want what others have and are reinforced to be dissatisfied with the status quo. Is discontentment related to coveting what others have? If so, rather than hide that sin, we need to confess it, the sooner the better. While we thankfully live under the grace of God now, unconfessed sin blocks our relationships and impacts our families.

Ask yourself, are you engaging in secret sin? Are you coveting your neighbor’s house, car, wife or even lifestyle? Perhaps coveting is so common in our culture today that we don’t even recognize it. In many ways, it has become a culturally acceptable sin.

The good news is that the power of sin is completely broken by the righteousness of Christ. When we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us (John 1:9).

Achan’s life is a reminder that if we live with hidden sin, it not only has repercussions for us, but also for those we love. Achan’s entire family paid for his sin with their lives. So, obey God, resist the temptation to covet and confess secret sins.

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