My Hiding Places

Do you remember the story of a man named Achan? After Israel defeated  Jericho, this man sinned by sneaking away with some of the city’s treasures (Joshua 7:1). After hiding the contraband items, Achan is eventually confronted by Joshua himself. In his own words,

“Truly I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it” (Joshua 7:20-21).

Let us bring the story of Achan into our thinking today. Do we not still hide things from each other and from God? Do we not still covet, steal, and try to get away with it? Do we not still think sometimes that God cannot see what we do in secret? I am reminded of a sobering verse; “Am I a God who is near, and not a God who is far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him? Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” (Jeremiah 23:23-24). Where are my hiding places?

My home can be a hiding place, just like Achan. He brought the fruits of his sin back to where his family slept, ate, conversed, and felt safe. Because of this, his entire family is destroyed. It is likely, perhaps, that Achan’s family knew about the treasures all along – how can you hide such things in a tent without somebody noticing? How do we explain God’s justice, since his entire family had to suffer the consequences of his greed? I, too, can bring evil into my home by allowing my temper to get the best of me, by taking out frustrations from work on my family, by using my home computer to look at illicit material, or by gossiping about people from church.

Work can be a hiding place, too. I may use work as an escape from home responsibilities. Or I may have a different persona for the office – that is, around work associates I will tell or laugh at dirty jokes, use foul language, bad mouth my spouse, drink alcohol, etc.

Is not the church a hiding place? In fact, some might say that church is the perfect hiding place. Nobody would suspect that you were living a sinful life if you sat in the pew every week, contributed liberally, and went through all the motions? I suspect this is why Jesus comes down on hypocritical Christians so hard in Revelation 3:14ff. And it is not like there is no precedent, either. The temple in Jerusalem had become a haven in the first century for lying, stealing, and corruption (Matthew 21:12-13).

My friends, let’s empty the hiding places of sin. Achan’s story proves that God already knows, anyway!