“The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.” (Josh 7:5)
The defeat of Israel at Ai turned out to be caused by one man. Achan, coveting a gold bar and some other beautiful trinkets from the city of Jericho, had taken them and hid them under his tent, a direct violation of God’s command to utterly destroy Jericho and put all the silver and gold into the treasury of the LORD (Josh 7:20-21).
When Achan took the silver and gold, all he thought about was that he wanted it. It was beautiful, it was valuable, nobody would get hurt, and nobody would know.
That sounds like sound logic if you listen to the quiet selfish whisperings of Satan, but people DID get hurt. Thirty-six men died. Thirty-six families lost their fathers, sons, and husbands. Thirty-six homes had one empty chair at the dinner table after the battle of Ai.
When Achan coveted the gold, he never wanted that. He never wanted to hurt anyone… but sin is a bullet; you can’t take it back once you pull the trigger, and unintended consequences and collateral damage are guaranteed.
Beware the unintended targets of your sin. You never know whose loved ones it will hurt.
"And that man [Achan] did not perish alone in his iniquity." (Josh 22:20)