The travelers' faces were lined with dust, weariness and fear. Their worn-out sandals and clothing indicated that they had been on a long journey. What could have brought them so far from home? Joshua and the men of Israel soon found out that these men were ambassadors from a far country who desired to make a peace treaty with the Israelites.
Now the Israelites had been forbidden to make any peace treaties with the people of the land so they immediately asked the right question. They asked the men where they came from. They asked the right question but they did not ask the right person. They did not ask God.
The travelers presented the physical evidence that they were telling the truth. They looked the part, they acted the part but there was a problem. It was a ruse, a deception, a trick done in an effort to save their people from annihilation. Joshua 9:14 tells us that the leaders examined their bread but they did not consult God. Instead they depended upon what they saw, what they heard and what they thought and came to the wrong conclusion. In doing so, they disobeyed God, not due to willfulness but foolish pride. They thought they were too smart to be deceived. The only one who is too smart to be deceived and indeed is impossible to deceive is God and we must never forget it! Therefore, the only smart thing to do is to do is exactly what Joshua and the men of Israel did not do, consult God.
Three days later they discovered the truth. They had been deceived and as a result of their falling prey to deception, they had entered into a treaty with some of their neighbors and disobeyed God. It gets even better. You see, if they broke their treaty, they were breaking their oath and God had also commanded that they keep any oath that they made. In other words in order to fix the first problem, they would have to break another commandment God had given them. Joshua and the men of Israel had gotten themselves into a fine mess simply because they had failed to ask God what to do.
In all honesty, I do not know what God would have said. He had brought judgement upon the people of Canaan and yet at the same time, He is a God of mercy and the Gibeonites had come to fear the Lord. This was why they were not merely seeking peace, they were surrending. Fearful that they would not be given a chance to plead their case, they resorted to deception.
What I do know is this, Joshua and the leaders of Israel failed to consult God and many times, we do the same. Something sounds good, something seems right and so we automatically assume it is. We fail to simply take the time to ask God.
May we learn to seek the instruction of God rather than leaning on our own understanding.
Hi K, Nice!
Two thoughts came to mind as I read this great article:
1) You wrote, "they depended upon what they saw, what they heard and what they thought and came to the wrong conclusion. " Made me think of Prov. 3:5. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."
2) You wrote, "The only one who is too smart to be deceived and indeed is impossible to deceive is God." I totally agree, but my first thought was those of us who are dead, but of course the dead are gone and so they do not count. Ecc. 9:5 says, "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing"
I very much want to Fully Rely On God (F.R.O.G.) unlike these guys did. But I end up doing much the same things as they did. :(
Yes it is so easy for we are so ingrained with bad habits that we do not think of bringing our everyday decisions before God - but God desires that we do so for he is interested in our total welfare not the so called that we label 'spiritual things.'
Good blog for as the word says walking by faith needs empowerment from the Holy Spirit and self surrender.