Growing up, if your house had a basement, odds are it was dark, scary, and you thought it was haunted. You probably felt safest when the basement door was not only shut, but locked and deadbolted; you wouldn’t dare leave the basement door open. As Christians, should we also want the door to sin locked just as tight?
In Joshua 6, when Israel defeated Jericho, God commanded them to take none of the spoils, but to place them in the treasury of the Lord. However, Achan sinned by taking “a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels.” (Joshua 7:21) What happened afterwards, surely Achan did not expect. Due to Achan’s sin, “the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel,” (Joshua 7:1) and 36 men of Israel were killed at Ai. Not only that, but Achan’s sin destroyed his entire family, as God commanded, “He who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord…” (Joshua 7:15)
Essentially, Achan opened the basement door wide open and all sorts of unexpected bad things rushed in. When Achan took those things, he wasn’t trying to destroy his whole family; he may have been trying to provide for his family. However, Scripture says, “There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 16:25) We may be able to rationalize our sin to ourselves and even other people, but God has a higher standard altogether.
Drug addicts don’t intend on tearing their families apart; adulterers don’t plan on losing everything, but that’s what sin does. In Isaiah 57:20, we get God’s perspective on sinners. “The wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt.” Like the sea, and like that old basement, sin is dark, dangerous, difficult to predict, and drags us down. “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.” (Proverbs 5:22) Keep the basement door shut tight to contain sin, thinking as David did, “A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.” (Psalm 101:4)