Rationalize – to devise self-satisfying but incorrect reasons for one’s behavior. Are you good at that? I know I can be. It doesn’t take me long to talk myself into or out of a lot of things that deep down I know aren’t right. I think it’s one of Satan’s best strategies for getting us to sin. We ask ourselves, “What’s the big deal? Who’ll ever know? What could it hurt?”
Do you know who Achan was? He was one of the Israelite soldiers who saw the walls of Jericho come “a’tumblin’ down.” He knew what God said – all the silver, gold, bronze and iron they found were to be taken for the Lord’s treasury and everyone and everything else in Jericho was to be destroyed. It was the start of the conquest of the Promised Land and God wanted them to get their priorities straight. In the middle of all the chaos, Achan saw a fancy robe, a little silver and a wedge of gold. No one saw him take them. Who would know? What could it hurt? But someone DID see, someone DID know.
The next city to conquer was Ai. It wasn’t very big and they thought they would only need part of the army to take it. But they were routed by the men of Ai and 36 Israelites were killed. They were devastated and blamed God for abandoning them. In Joshua 7 the Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned…” One man’s greed had affected the whole nation. Achan thought it wan’t going to hurt. Tell that to the 36 grieving families! Those few material possessions cost Achan his life.
Don’t kid yourself. Those secret sins that you think nobody knows about – someone knows. You’re hurting yourself and who knows who else? The bad news is, the penalty for sin is still death. The good news is, if you’re a Christian, Jesus took the penalty for you and you can move forward and be a conqueror. Thank God today for second chances…and third…and fourth!