Summary: Before making decisions, we need to check it out first with God and seek His counsel. Joshua failed to do this, and suffered the consequences.
“Check It Out!” – The Gibeonites
INTRODUCTION: Our story tonight has to do with choices, decisions, deception, and jumping to conclusions.
BACKGROUND: The Children of Israel had finally crossed over into the Promised Land. The waters departed for them to cross the Jordan River on dry land. At Jericho, the walls came tumbling down. At Ai, they get cocky and are defeated. THEN, in the 2nd battle, they take the city of Ai.
The nations in the path of the army of Israel are worried. They unite to fight against Israel as one army. Joshua 9:1-2
Not everybody wanted to fight Joshua & the Children of Israel. The city of Gibeon was about 27 miles from where Israel was camped … and heading their way.
9:3-5 – They want Joshua to think that they came from a long way away … a distant country – 9:6
The Gibeonites wanted a peace treaty with Israel. BUT … according to Deut. Chapter 20, only those who lived outside Canaan were to be given an opportunity to sign a peace treaty. Local cities/nations were to be conquered … spoiled … plundered.
The Gibeonites (from the city of Gibeon) were Hivites – see 9:1. BUT … they didn’t want to make war with anyone. SO … they decide to trick Israel into making a peace treaty with them.
9:7 – They were cautious .. a little leery. They want some questions answered … want to check it out a little more closely.
9:8 – Joshua asks for SPECIFICS … still cautious. They never specifically answer his question. THEN … they begin to praise and flatter them, and the God of Israel. 9:9-13
Their story sounds convincing. The evidence seems to back up their story. They seem credible.
NOW … the KEY VERSE … 9:14, 9:15.
They were duped … tricked … lied to … connived … taken advantaged of … deceived. Joshua was so sure of himself, that he didn’t see any need to ask counsel from the Lord.
Have you ever felt like this? You just KNOW it’s God’s will … WHY pray about it? WELL … at least you THINK it’s God’s will … it’s YOUR WILL! You HOPE it’s God’s will. Why take a chance and pray about it, only to find out that it’s NOT God’s will. After all, if it’s NOT His will, He’ll let you know … RIGHT?
WHAT LESSONS CAN WE LEARN FROM ALL THIS?
1.- Your Enemy Will Surprise You.
Joshua never expected it … he was blind-sided. If he would have seen an army advancing toward him, he would have known what to do. Like 9-11 … who would have thought … AIRPLANES! If tanks, guns, soldiers … we would have knocked them out within minutes.
Satan is a master of disguise. 2 Cor. 11:14 – “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Cor. 2:11 – “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Satan knows your weaknesses … he knows how to disguise his temptations … seem harmless.
2.- Don’t Jump To Conclusions.
How many times do we base our decisions and conclusions on outward appearances? That’s how RUMORS get started. That’s how GOSSIP spreads. John 8:44 speaks of Satan – “for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Don’t assume that everything you hear is the truth (I learned this from 12 years in the Police Department … people will LIE to you!). Don’t even accept what I say, if it sounds unorthodox … without checking it out first with Scripture.
3.- Don’t Be Flattered Into Sin Or Disobedience.
The Gibeonites flattered Joshua to get him off-balance. “Flattery” is different than sincere “praise” or “compliments”. “Flattery” is used as a means of peer pressure … to get you to violate your principles. It’s used to manipulate & control you.
Have you ever known someone who was a flatterer? Why do they do it? To get you to think so highly of THEM … for thinking so highly of YOU … THAT … you’ll let your guard down.
4.- Seek Counsel From God – 9:14
They viewed their circumstance from a wholly human perspective … human viewpoint. There was more to it than what was visible on the surface. Appearances can be deceiving - John 7:24 – “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
When we don’t take our plans and decisions to the Lord, Satan will pull one over on us. Proverbs 14:12 – “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Seek counsel from God. He needs to be a part of your decision-making process. Sometimes what is OBVIOUS, is not BEST. Why not consult the One who sees all, knows all!