The school bell has rung, class is now in session.
I was studying a chapter in the Book of Joshua, and came across a lesson that would benefit everyone who reads it. Essential Question: Have you ever had an enemy in your life? How did you handle them?
Joshua had many surrounding enemies. It was not because of anything he did, but was because God continued to give him victory over his enemies in battle. Victories can produce jealousy.
The enemies of Joshua and the Israelites were so upset, that some decided to joined together in order to construct a frontal attack on Israel. Note: A typical strategy of an enemy, is to find others who do not like you, and join with them to make their attack even stronger.
The second attack strategy is what I would like to focus on. There was another group of people called the Gibeonites, who decided not to join the others in their head-on attack. They wagered on the use of a different approach, deception. They conspired a plan to pretend to be ambassadors from a far away land and seek sympathy. They took with them moldy bread, wore old patched up sandals and garments, and placed old sacks on the backs of their donkeys.
When they arrived at Camp Gilgal, the group told Joshua and the leaders that they were from far away, showered them with compliments, and asked to please make a covenant with them. Note: Be careful when people seem to want to gain your agreement about certain matters rather quickly, especially when you have not had an opportunity to learn the motives or intentions behind their request. Use discernment.
Joshua asked the group how he could make a covenant with them without knowing exactly who they were or where they were from? For all he knew, they could have been from their enemies’s camp. Joshua knew that God charged him to destroy his neighboring enemies, especially since they were secretly plotting to attack Israel.
The Gibeonites went on to reassure them, that they were not neighbors, but from far away, and had heard all of the great things God had done for the Israelites. Although they were lying about themselves, they were telling the truth about God, and knew it would be pointless to oppose Israel. Note: The Gibeonites did not join the others in their planned ambush against the Israelites because of the Israelites’s reputation for overcoming their enemies. Instead, they decided to pretend to be from far away so that they could obtain a covenant of protection. They even mentioned that their clothes and sandals were worn, and their bread was very moldy in order to make it appear they were from far away. Note: This was a falsehood, they were not from far away, but were willing to stop at nothing to get what they wanted.
Joshua and the leaders took the Gibeonite’s provision, and did not counsel with the Lord about any of it. Joshua made peace with them, and let them live. Note: The main issue here is that they did not seek the Lord about these people. They accepted the deception hook, line and sinker. They chose to walk by sight and not faith, taking everything at face value.
Three days Later, the Gibeonite’s deception came to the surface. The Israelites decided to pay the Gibeonites a visit, but could not harm them because of the covenant they made to the Lord. Note: Even when a bad oath is made, it was a mark of godliness to honor an oath to God. To prove the importance of the oath; years later, King Saul harmed the Gibeonites, and brought famine on the land for his disobedience.
Because of their deception, the Gibeonites were made slaves, but left unharmed. Their motive for lying was the fear of being annihilated. The main takeaway is to seek Godly counsel when making decisions. When your enemy feels desperate, instead of attacking you like a normal enemy would do; they could decide to form an alliance with you based on deception. While the outcome would not be good for them, it would not be great for you either. Note: We do not know everything, and must be sure to not fall victim of our own intellect.
Walk by faith and not by sight.
The school bell has rung, class dismissed!