Summary: Satan won’t play dead for long as we grow in our maturity for the Lord. Learn how Joshua and Israel was fooled by a sly enemy, and how not to be fooled by Satan.
There is only so much victory in a Christian’s life that Satan will accept without a fight. Know for certain that the stronger you get, the stronger the response from the enemy will be. We need to know this so we can be prepared for his onslaught. It will be both unexpected and sly.
For Joshua, victory over Jericho and Ai was only the beginning - it seems the enemy had a few tricks up his sleeve that Joshua wasn’t expecting.
For us as Christians as we seek to live a victorious life in Christ we see the enemy continually change his tactics. For you Star Trek fans it reminds me of the Borg. You know the "you will be assimilated" bunch who said "resistance in futile!" When you fired a phaser at a Borg you could get through only a couple of times because the Borg would adjust their something-or-other to compensate and the phaser won’t work anymore.
With our enemy who seeks to keep us from being effective and victorious for God will continually rotate his "devices" as the Bible calls them so that we need to constantly keep on our toes. At the end of the study today the Apostle Peter has three tips to keep our spiritual phasers from becoming useless against Lucifer.
In our journey through Joshua we’ve seen the enemy put up impossible looking walls representing the world and its attitudes-walls that God knocked down as we focused on our relationship with Him and worship. Then we saw the tactics change to temptation from within as sin entered the camp, along with arrogance and independence from God that turned victory into defeat.
After repentance and cleansing we saw imaginative tactics take the battle to a new level. Then we watched as Israel stopped the battle get perspective: surveying the possibilities they realized that they only would have victory in the grace of God and a relationship with Him.
Now they are ready to resume operations, but the enemy is far from finished. His tactics change from obstinacy (Jericho), to temptation (Akin), to pride (arrogance & independence), and now to subterfuge and lies. Satan, as you may know, is the father of lies. Jesus said that when Satan lies he speaks his native language (John 8:44).
Our job as Christians is to 1) Recognize the voice of Satan 2) Reveal the lie 3) Rely on the Lord’s wisdom to overcome the lies with truth.
Verses 1 - 2
The beginning of the conquest had fear going for it. The kings of Canaan had heard of what God had done, then saw it for themselves. But like a cornered animal, eventually they come out fighting no matter what the odds are against them. No longer would Joshua be able to go city to city. All the kings were now banding together so the fight would be much more difficult.
At a certain point our enemy will not care about the odds or the circumstances and will attack the Christian to keep them from being victorious in becoming like the Lord and then being used effectively to increase His kingdom, and thus reducing Satan’s.
This is why even the experienced Christian needs to be on guard. And it’s why we see too many Christian leaders brought down. It’s why we need to watch for both frontal and sideways attacks as we’ll see here in chapter 9.
Verses 3 - 15
Now God had strictly forbidden Israel from making any treaties with the nations in Canaan (Deut 7:1-3). You wonder if somehow the Gibeonites found out about that. Why else would they invent this ruse?
So the Gibeonites come up with this great story. It’s like a little play. They have the costumes and the props and the script about how they have journeyed far when they were only few miles away. I guess they went down to Goodwill and bought a bunch of junk to make it appear their clothes had worn out over months of journeying. For my taste they overplay it a little-going on and on about the bread being warm and the wineskins being new. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they said "we were only young boys when we set off low these many years ago."
In our struggle against the enemy often he will come dressed as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). We need to be careful and as John tells us "test the spirits to see if they are from God" (1 John 4:1). Often times Satan comes to present temptation to us, and it looks and sounds reasonable. When we do not seek God for discernment but instead listen to the lie and don’t test it, we open ourselves up for trouble.
One of the problems that crops up after victory is that we think we are bullet-proof. And we think we sort of have the mind of God in all situations. What happens is that we don’t seek the wisdom of Lord and we don’t seek the discernment of the Spirit.