"So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:
And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken:
And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:"
This is interesting... not just because of the method of rooting out the guy who had stolen and disobeyed the Lord, but because of the importance of confession... and publicity in the community too. God could have taught the lesson individually, or publicly could have just shown Joshua who did it, what he had done, and they could have taken care of the problem, done. But instead, they gather the entire community together, and go through them, narrowing it down till they single out the one person. And then ask for a confession.
Some of it was probably so that people would know very clearly that God knows what we are up to... but maybe there are lessons here also about being a Zion community. God was trying to teach the people that being in a community carries a responsibility... you can't just go your own way. He was also still trying to get them to understand that he was God, and there is no getting around that. The whole community suffers if one person is working at odds to what the group is doing, or hiding things from them... and also, as in James 5:16, in a Zion community, we should be admitting our mistakes to each other, and helping build each other up, rather than hiding and sneaking around and stealing things that God expressly told us not to touch. Some of these Old Testament stories teach the lessons more starkly (it's taken us a long time as a society to learn some of the basics), but I think the core principles are the same.
Today, let's confess our faults and work on becoming better people. I don't think that God is going to send the prophet to our doors to root out our secret stash... but he does already know about all of it. And just in case. You know. ;)