(Achan replied) “When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia,
two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels,
I coveted them and took them.”
(Joshua 7:21)

The result of disobedience to the Lord was not only the death of Achan who was the guilty party, but death to
his family too, even though they may have been innocent.  Achan took things which he knew he was not
permitted to, and hid them.  Temptation in its finest hour.  None of these things were harmful in themselves,
and in many instances God allowed the Israelites to help themselves to the spoils, such as in the next
chapter when they conquer Ai.  Not only did his actions bring death to himself, but to those he loved.  Some
things are shared whether intended or not.  Today we call it the trickle effect.

To avoid the ultimate harsh sentence, we might examine exactly what our own devoted things might be,
things we have taken and hidden also.  I would say that our personal devoted things would be anything that
keeps us away from God, or similarly to the Achan situation, anything that God tells us to not do.  He loves
us, therefore He disciplines us for our own good.  God is the author of wisdom, and is wisdom, and ours is
not to question.

Devoted things in our lives could be clothes, or the internet, or food, or reckless friends, or idle time, or
drinking, or politics - need I go on?  In other words, whatever separates our attention away from honoring
God first.  Distractions of our own doing.

But there are other kinds of devoted things which are less defined.  There’s arrogance, and guilt, and fear,
and doubt, and lack of self-confidence.  We often harbor these things, covet them, and coddle them like
precious gems.  Like Achan, we hide them from sight, or think we do, because we haven’t reached a maturity
in Christ to overcome them.  That may be because we don’t know how to cope, or simply because, like an old
friend or a favorite pastime which we inherently know will do us no good, we don’t want to shed them.

God wants us to release our devoted things, to expose them for what they are, both to ourselves and to Him.  
If God loved us so very much that He gave His only begotten Son over to death in our place, so that we might
experience only the shadow of it, then our response should be to shed some of these worldly devoted things
in response.  If God loved us so much that He was willing to tell us his own name, Yahweh, a name so
revered that it was not even whispered among Old Testament people, then surely we can let go of our
devoted things