Shared June 8th, 2014
“The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord” (Joshua 9:14)
In Part 1, I ended by saying when in doubt, always pray for God to reveal to you the truth. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction in our walk as Christians, we will be able to sniff out or, to put it biblically, we will be able to sense and discern the false teachings that abound today. What do I mean?
Look at this story about tricking others. In reality, it is also a story about treachery. By the time of the arrival of the events in Joshua 9, the children of Israel were well known. Their reputation had preceded them and their fame kept spreading through all of the land. This was a time after the days of Moses and Joshua was leading Israel’s armies and they were conquering and dominating the Promised Land; this was the land that God promised Abraham and marked out for them. All the surrounding peoples were terrified and fear reigned supreme in their hearts.
The army of Israel had defeated a powerful nation like Ai and so the rest of the country came to immediate attention and action. The kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and the Jebusites met together and formed an alliance to fight Joshua and the children of Israel.
But there was one group of people that was smart. They saw what was unfolding and they knew they had to have their hides protected. They were the Gibeonites, a people of a nearby country; they lived next door to the new would-be tenants, the Israelites. They didn’t join the alliance because they were convinced that they could not defeat the children of Israel. So instead, they decided to trick the Israelites into making an agreement, into signing a peace treaty with them. They knew the God of Israel had given His people victories.
So what did they do? They concocted an ingenious plan. They devised a ruse by sending a delegation to Joshua and claiming that they had travelled from very far; and to throw in proof for good measure, they doctored the appearance of their delegation so well, that even all of Hollywood’s make-up artists combined would not be able to match the wardrobe they prepared for their delegation. Joshua and the people of Israel fell for the ruse, believing them to the extent that they even signed the treaty with them. Hollywood would love to have these guys on their payroll!
The deception was that good. When they left on the journey, they even had food supplies with them and when they arrived, they said the following to Joshua: This bread of ours we took hot for our provision from our houses on the day we departed to come to you. But now look, it is dry and moldy. But in actuality, the Gibeonites dressed their two ambassadors in old clothing and ripped and patched sandals, gave them bread that was dry and moldy, wine in old, cracked wine skins, before dispatching them to go make a peace treaty with the Israelites. When they arrived, they even told the Israelites, “We are your servants.” Talk about lying to save your skin!
Anyway, their ruse worked because Joshua and the Israelites, without asking the Lord God for His approval, quickly signed the treaty but only later did they learn that these guys lived next door! “What? These guys are our neighbours? These guys are one of those countries that our God told us to destroy because of their wickedness? How could we be so foolish? Didn’t anyone check them out? Who’s the head of our intelligence service?”
But it was too late. What was Joshua’s mistake? He made this treaty without praying and inquiring of the Lord and now they had to live with the consequences as a result! The treaty incident taught the Israelites the need to counsel more with the Lord in their doings. An extremely valuable lesson for all of us to learn!
Post script. You know what? Even though they were very angry when they found out that the Gibeonites had tricked them, Joshua and the Israelites still honoured the treaty. Try that today! But to them, honouring a promise was very important. On the other hand, I can hear the Gibeonites hi-fiving each other with “We did it! We got the suckers!”
Proposed prayer: “Dear Lord, thank You for teaching me about the need to consult with You in all things, big or small. Help me to learn from this story, which You have embedded in Your Word. Let this be a graphic reminder for me to wait on You and for You. Holy Spirit, I need Your guidance and direction for every move that I make, so that I will always live in accordance with Your good and perfect will. I do thank You for hearing and answering my prayer, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Beloved, a blessed week to you and remember, learn to wait on the Lord.