Just the other day I was reading 'Just Play Ball' by Joe Garagiola. He recalls a story where a player was attempting to steal second base. Just as he slid into the base he was tagged by the glove of the second baseman.
The umpire, who was standing near the play yelled "Out".
The runner looked up and said "I know I'm safe".
The umpire ask "How do you know your safe"?
The runner said "Because I'm sitting on the ball".
Before the battle at Jericho, Joshua had strictly commanded the people not to take any of the spoil for themselves. Anything of value was to be placed in the Lord's treasury, God Himself would give them all they would ever need.
However one of the warriors, Achan, had his own idea. During the battle for the city he found a piece of silver, a wedge of gold and a Babylonian garment. He looked this way and that way. Nobody was watching. Nobody would know. Quickly he scooped them up, and placing them securely in his own apparel, he continued in the battle. Later that evening he put them under his tent.
The deed was done and Achan was richer for it. The Lord had plenty of what had been recovered by others and what Achan had stolen would never be missed. His wife and family agreed that not only had he done well in battle but he was wise securing such loot. A few more days like this one and they could retire in style.
But Somebody did see. Somebody was watching. God saw it. He saw it all. The all seeing, all knowing One, was aware of what took place.
When Achan looked with lust at the treasure, God saw it. When he greedily scooped it up, God saw it. When he placed it under his tent, God saw that too.
A few days later, in the next battle at the little town of Ai, thirty-six soldiers lost their lives because God had removed His blessing from His army. These men died needlessly. They lost their life and it was because God had seen what Achan had done.
But not only did God see what Achan had done, He has seen what you and I have done too. We have sinned against light and love. Our sin is just as grievous to God as what Achan did.
If only Achan had sought God's mercy before judgement began he would have found it. But sadly, Achan would not confess until he had been found out. When judgement did fall, he lost his life.
It doesn't have to be that way with us. In the book of John chapter 11 Jesus says," I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet he shall live." Jesus died for our sin so that we don't have to. It is His desire that we have mercy and not destruction. We will make that choice and He will see that too.