Summary: What would you do if you were in the place of the people of the region of Gibeon, knowing your cities were the next in line for this invading horde of people who marched around fortresses until the walls fell down, if you were facing an invader who seem
Text: Joshua 9
Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, Israel’s promise Land, gives us some great life lessons about how to own God’s promises! Last week, I spoke to you from the 7th chapter about the importance of keeping the covenant with God and how our choices, both good and bad, have a ripple effect in this world. It was awfully quiet in here!
I hope one of us will recognize the importance of planting the kind of seed that will produce the harvest we desire.
Today, we will be taking a look at an ancient account of duplicity and gullibility. Again, it is a lesson that we must take seriously and apply in our lives.
Do you know what the word, EXPEDIENT, means?
The dictionary defines it this way:
• Serving to promote one’s interest: as in “he was merciful only when mercy was expedient.”
• Based on or marked by a concern for self-interest rather than principle; self-interested.
Most of us are well–acquainted with situations where people ‘bend the rules’ and justify their decision by saying,
“It was the obvious choice.” Or
“What else could I have done?” Or
“Who did it hurt?”
Our grasp of right and wrong, of what is ethical, has been loosened by the grease of expediency. A couple of questions might help us to know whether we have fallen into this pattern –
Do I tell little convenient lies to avoid difficult circumstances?
Do I shade the truth to favor myself?
Did I pay all of my taxes last month or did I let that cash income go unreported?
What matters most to me
- Living by principles - doing what’s right; or
- Living expediently – making it easy on myself?
This story shows us that choosing the path of expediency is only a temporary solution, which, in the end, is no solution at all. We will note that two groups fall into this trap in very different ways. Let’s take a look!
A Threatened People Choose to Deceive
READ Joshua 9: 3-13
What would you do if you were in the place of the people of the region of Gibeon, knowing your cities were the next in line for this invading horde of people who marched around fortresses until the walls fell down, if you were facing an invader who seemed unstoppable?
Only three choices existed and none was very attractive -
1 - fight to the death,
2- run, abandoning home and wealth; or
3 - try to make peace, which didn’t seem very likely given the battle tactics of the Israelites.
Then somebody in the city came up with a wild idea.
“Let’s trick these invaders! If we can get them to make a treaty of peace, perhaps they will feel obligated to honor it even though we made it in deception.”
And that’s what they did. Tattered clothing, worn out sandals, cracked wineskins, moldy bread, along with a story of a long journey, were put together and given to the best actors in the city, who were then sent off for the short trip, of perhaps 20 or so miles, to meet with the Israelite leaders. These deceivers arrived at the Israelite encampment and were taken to the leaders.
Let’s think about the Gibeonite deception for a moment before we move ahead.
What might have happened IF, instead of choosing deception, these people had tried real faith and went to Israel with the truth. What if they had said,
“We recognize you’re unstoppable. Is there any way we can join you, put our faith in your God,
and become a part of what you’re doing here? Would you make a covenant with us?”
We don’t know what might have happened, but the fact is that they didn’t even try it. Instead, they choose what seemed to be their best, last hope - a lie!
That’s what lack of faith will do to everyone of us. It will cause us to choose the course of expediency over principle everytime! You don’t have to be a real bad guy to take the easy road. You don’t have to be a low-life to decide it’s easier to cheat or lie. Justifying your decision will be easy, believe me! You will argue, that you just did what you had to do, that you just had to get through the situation, that you did what any reasonable person would have done in the same situation. It takes deep faith to do the right things in life.
Abraham, despite God’s promises, chose to father a child with Hagar, which seemed an expedient choice.
David, though given many victories by God, chose to look to his own strength and did a census of Israel’s
fighting strength, an expedient choice.
Positively, Jesus, fought off the expedienct choice to save his life, and in faith surrendered to the Father’s will when facing the Cross.