Achan’s Buried Treasure
Written by Ps Dev Menon
Last week, I couldn’t stop thinking about Achan’s sin. I wondered if Jesus had that incident in mind when He told us the parable of the talents: Matthew 25:18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
In that parable, you also have a man who took what belonged to God, and buried it in the ground (see Joshua 7:21). This triggered similar wrath from the Master, and the man was cast into outer darkness.
What was apparent in that parable, was that the man who buried the treasure did so because he thought his Master was a ‘hard man’ (Matthew 25:24): someone who is demanding and stern, someone who would take the little that was given (despite giving it to him in the first place!). I wonder if that is at the heart of all hoarding behaviour (by Christians anyway) – the perennial doubt of the goodness and generosity of our Father in heaven?
Although it was denied at Jericho, the people of Israel were allowed to take the spoil from previous battles with Sihon and Og, and similar permission was given for all the next battles in Canaan after Jericho – take all the spoil and livestock. More than that, throughout Deuteronomy and Joshua, there have been repeated refrains that God will ‘give them the land’. Why was there a need to take, bury and hide, if God is going to keep giving?
During this time of Covid, there have been a number of news articles that have disturbed me. While people are losing jobs, economies are crashing, and the financial needs of the global church are increasing exponentially; local banks reporting clients increasing cash holdings, more aggressive sales of higher priced-property and there is the expansion of high-end restaurants. How should we interpret these things? Prudent investments or selfish hoarding?
The answer is important. The severity of what happened to Achan, the one-talent man and all those who bury treasure (cf. James 5:3) must not be forgotten.