Joshua 7 Study Guide

This past weekend, Pastor Doug shared a powerful, timely message from Joshua 7. In this message, we saw the secret sin of Achan catch up to him and lead to the deaths of 36 men, showing us that our sin doesn’t just hurt us and will never stay buried. We also discovered the importance of accountability and confession.

Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the teaching and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.

For the Note Takers

Your Secret Sin Doesn’t Just Hurt You (Joshua 7:1–5): Our sin doesn’t just affect us; it has a ripple effect that can cause an avalanche of collateral damage to fall upon the people around us—and sometimes even on others outside our direct sphere of influence. Our secret sin can often cause more damage than we could ever begin to imagine.

In the Church, the victory of the entire community, of the whole body of Christ, depends not just on the collective, but on the victorious life of each individual member. One cell in the body can affect thousands or millions of others, like cancer. This is what our secret sin can do within the Church . . . it can affect and infect other people. And while, yes, of course God will forgive you for your public and private sins, there will still be consequences; the worst part is that not all the consequences will be suffered by you. As you go about your daily life, as you experience temptation to fall into secret sin, think long and hard about the potential damage you could unintentionally cause others.

Your Secret Sin Won’t Stay a Secret (Joshua 7:6–23): Consider Achan’s words: “I saw . . . I coveted . . . I took.” Sound familiar? This is exactly what we see in the Garden of Eden, it’s also what we see with King David, and, if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, it’s what we see happen in our own lives and the lives of people around us all the time. Sin rarely happens in an instant; it’s usually a process, an unraveling of inhibitions through temptation and deception.

Here’s the craziest thing about Achan’s sin: If he had just been obedient and waited on God’s timing, he would have received the amazing reward and blessing that came to the people of Israel shortly after their victory at Jericho. He would have received what his heart desired, but it would have been in God’s proper time. But he wanted it when he wanted it and how he wanted it, thus he paid the price for it. You see, a blessing out of season can be a curse. This was true here with Achan, it’s true with sex outside of marriage, and it’s true with so many other things we fall into.

Your Secret Sin Will Show Up in Your Future (Joshua 7:24–26): Sin often trails behind us. When this happens, we think our secret is safe, that no one has seen or can discover what we’ve done or are doing. However, even though it trails behind, it ALWAYS catches up to us. And when it does, it leaves devastation in its wake. So, what do you do? How do you deal with your secret sin? How do you do get out in front of it and keep the damage from getting worse than it already is? How do you mitigate the devastation?

Your Secret Sin Needs to Be Confessed: When you buy a house with Chinese drywall, you don’t just leave it in and paint over it or cover it up with pretty wallpaper. Why? Because the foundation is still rotten and the walls are still poisonous. Regardless of what you do to cover it up, eventually you and everyone in your home will be gravely ill. So, instead of painting over it and covering it up, you redo the drywall! You rip it all out and start over. This may have a high cost, and it may reveal even more issues that need to be rectified, but it will cost less in the long run than it will if it’s allowed to stay there. Don’t wait, do the right thing and rip out that drywall!

What does this look like practically? It requires us to identify, confess, and repent of our secret sin. There may be consequences. It may require serving time, it may require counselling and rebuilding of trust, but confessing now will be much better in the long run as opposed to when the sin catches up to you. Confessing now will help you begin the restoration process and help you begin to find freedom from this burden. There is a heavy weight of iniquity that can only be lifted through confession. Make today the day of confession!

Quote to Remember: God is looking for a pure Church, not a perfect one.—Pastor Doug Sauder


As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.

1. Why does a person’s secret sin often hurt others? In what ways have you seen this to be true in your own life?

2. How have you seen secret sin catch up to someone? How did it impact them and the people around them?

3. What is the difference between confessing and being caught?

4. What happens when we are brave enough to confess?


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Join us this Wednesday as Pastor Reuben Ramsaran further explores some extremely powerful and difficult themes from Joshua 7 as we dive deeper into the importance of confession, repentance, strong Christian community, and accountability.

Then on the weekend, Pastor Doug will share from Joshua 8. In this message, we’ll see the Israelites win at Ai and then renew their covenant with God as we discover why failure is such a good teacher and how it demonstrates our need to be fully dependent upon God.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.