After successfully defeating Jericho, the children of Israel carried their invasion of Canaan to the city of Ai. Because Ai was a less populous city than Jericho, Joshua committed only three thousand soldiers to the fight. Surprisingly, Israel was thoroughly routed. Confounded by Israel’s failure, Joshua asked God why He brought Israel across the Jordan only to be defeated by the land’s inhabitants. God offers a simple reason: you lost because there is sin in the camp. As the seventh chapter of Joshua unfolds, we learn about Achan, an Israelite who grew a little too greedy in Jericho. Achan ignored God’s explicit instructions and took for himself a beautiful Babylonian cloak as well as silver and gold. He buried these treasures underneath his tent, hiding his transgression from everyone except God. When Joshua discovered his disobedience, Achan and his family were executed and his possessions burned. We cannot hide our sins from God. “From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth--he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do” (Psalms 33:13-15). Even if they escape the notice of every other person in this world, our sins will not be overlooked by God. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). A day approaches when God will uncover all that is hidden. “This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16). When Jesus returns, “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Have you, like Achan, done something wrong in secret? Perhaps you think no one will ever find out. Maybe no one will in this life, but your deeds do not escape the scrutiny of God. What we have thought and done will be made known, it will become public knowledge as Jesus Christ judges our lives. Thankfully, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). However, this promise depends on whether or not we walk in the light, "if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). If you know hidden deeds or thoughts will condemn your soul, I urge you to make yourself right. Your undisclosed sins can be forgiven by the Lord in baptism if you have not obeyed the gospel. Spare yourself an eternity of shame and anguish by accepting the Lord's offer.