Most of us are familiar with the expression, “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.” It is a phrase used to refer to a situation in which one person’s negative attitude or behavior can affect a whole group of people. Did you ever have a ‘class clown’ when you were in high school? Usually, he was the one person who acted out and could influence the whole class. It really is amazing to consider the influence that one person can have on others, whether good or bad.
The seventh chapter of Joshua begins on a somber note and shows us how one person, a man named Achan, influenced the whole nation of Israel in a very negative way. What was his sin? He took for himself something that did not belong to him. The Lord had given instructions to His people concerning the spoils of Jericho. Everything was to be devoted and set apart for Himself. Thinking that no one would know, Achan took some of the spoils for himself and hid them in his tent. His sin robbed God’s people of power. They were soundly defeated when they came to the small city of Ai.
We should never underestimate the amount of damage that one person can do who is outside the will of God. Abraham’s lie in Egypt nearly cost him his wife. David’s sin in numbering the people led to the death of 70,000. Jonah’s disobedience nearly led to the sinking of an entire ship. It only takes a little bit of yeast to leaven the whole lump of dough. Even a little bit of sin tolerated in our lives can rob us of spiritual power. Just a few negative spies can lead an entire nation into rebellion and forty wasted years in the wilderness. Sin is always serious.
Achan’s sin and Israel’s defeat robbed God of glory and demanded that they repent and make things right. The key to revival in our lives and churches is humility that confesses sin and comes to God in broken repentance. There is no sin too great that the blood of Jesus can’t cleanse.
For more, read Joshua 7:1-26