Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and honor him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.” Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” – Joshua 7:19-21
Adolph Harstad writes:
The confession of Achan may come later than it should have, but it is complete. It may even serve as a model. He makes no attempt to shift the blame or minimize his guilt. He bares all before Joshua and the LORD. His sin, he admits, was not just a matter of momentary weakness. It was calculated: “I saw. … I coveted. … I took.” The hiding made it a continuing act of evil. The completeness of his confession is seen in the details he offers. The robe is a fine one from Mesopotamia. The silver weights two hundred shekels or about five pounds. The gold weighs fifty shekels or about one and a quarter pounds. He even specifies the arrangement of the contraband in his tent: “the silver is under the robe.”
We who so often rationalize our sins can guess what must have gone through the mind of Achan when the temptation first presented itself: “No one will know.” “This cherem command is too strict.” “What I’m taking is a pittance compared to all the wealth others have.” “I’m not being greedy. I just want to take care of my family.” “Probably other Israelites are doing the same thing.” “What a waste to burn this fine imported robe.” Or even, “God is getting so much other gold and silver for His treasurey; He won’t miss this little bit.” …
Now with all excuses shoved aside, Achan bares all and confesses his personal specific guilt. Some confessions can be deliberately vague. “Yes, I’m a sinner, but I am no worse than most (and better than some others here).” Those may be the words of one trying to find refuge in broad terms and to hide in the collective guilt of the sons and daughters of Adam. It is good at times to catalog specific sins to assure that we are not just mouthing vague confessions while denying personal guilt.
This all points to a basic principal: “We are called to confess our particular sins particularly.” This doesn’t mean that you have to rummage around in your conscience looking for unconfessed sins. But when specific sins come to mind, we are to confess and deal with those specific sins. Love for God and others is intended to cover over a multitude of other people’s sins. We are not to let self-love cover over a multitude of our own.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 39
Q. 38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A. At the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.