Summary: The mistake of Joshua was that he neglected to consult God and it caused a perplexing problem. It could have been a great tragedy, but he responded in a godly way. How we respond to our sin and shortcomings will determine how much God can use us.
Sermon Preached May 05
by Pastor Byron
THE MISTAKE OF JOSHUA
It is always amazing to see how people act when they only know a small percentage of the facts. We make some pretty bad decisions when we are only partially informed. We do some really brainless things. When we are unfamiliar with all the specifics we make some pretty big blunders in our lives. Those blunders can rob us from God’s blessings. Those indiscretions can keep us from conquering the enemies of the soul. That’s why it is so important for us to consult God in all matters.
The failure of Joshua was that he neglected to consult God and it caused a perplexing problem. He made a terrible mistake. A mistake that could have cost everything. It could have been a great tragedy, but he responded in a godly way. How we respond to our sin and shortcoming will determine how much God will use us.
Through this story we are also reinforced in our theme this year at New Hope: Never Give Up! Never Quit! Embrace Jesus and Expect A Miracle!
Israel was tricked into making a peace treaty with treaty with the people of Gibeon. This mistake could have cost Israel their lives and their blessing.
Gibeon was located only twenty-five miles from the camp of Israel at Gilgal and was on Joshua’s list to be destroyed. God stated that Israel must destroy all the cities in Canaan (Deut 20). Yet earlier, God told them that they could offer peace to cities that were outside Canaan. Somehow the Gibeonites knew about this law and decided to use the Word of God for their own purposes. (Since the enemy knows how to use the Word of God for their own purposes, God’s people must keep alert). Matt. 4:5-7)
The Gibeonites assembled a group of men and equipped them to look like an official delegation from a foreign city. Their clothing, food, and equipment were all designed to give the impression that they had been on a long and difficult journey from a distant city. Gibeon can be seen here as a type of the devil. He uses deceptive methods, he uses deceptive devices, and he uses deceptive words. (Satan is a counterfeiter and masquerades as an angel of light 2 Cor. 11:14 NIV) One of the names for Satan is deceiver. He is out there as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
As a strategist, Joshua knew enough to talk to God before leading his troops into battle. But the peace treaty seemed innocent enough so Joshua and the leaders made this decision on their own.
The mistake of Joshua and the leaders of Israel could have been a devastating blow to God’s promised victory. Today I would like to look at why the mistake could have ended in disaster and why God was willing to work through Joshua and Israel to given them triumph.
I) JOSHUA RELIED ON SELF TO MAKE DECISIONS.
This prompts me to ask some questions.
Why do we rely on ourselves to make decisions when we know we should rely upon God?
If we desire to follow God’s way, then why do we act without clear guidance from God?
Are we too rushed for time?
When we don’t take matters to God first, is it because we think consulting God is immaterial?
Or do we think that the matter is not important enough to ask God? Or that God us unconcerned?
We need to ask ourselves these questions to find out why we are unwilling to approach God with similar matters of concern in our own lives. When we fail to approach God with our issues of life we make the same mistake Joshua made.
Relying upon ourselves to make decisions without consulting God will get us into trouble every time.
They had foolishly made a covenant with the enemy. Joshua and the leaders were impulsive and didn’t take time to consult the Lord. Does that sound familiar? Are you guilty of not taking time to cousult the Lord? I think we all can be guilty of not taking matters to God to some extent. After listening to the strangers speech and examining the evidence, Joshua and the leaders concluded that the men were telling the truth.
The Gibeonites knew how to manipulate God’s people. The world is a manipulative place and will try to exploit God’s people. We are instructed to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matt. 10:16
How did the Gibeonites manipulate Joshua and the leaders of Israel?
They played on their sympathies by appearing as weary travelers who had been on a long journey.
They played on their ego and sense of pride. Insisting that they came on a long journey to pay respect for the power of God and the Israelites and wanted to be allowed to serve as servants.