Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Joshua 9:3-6 (NIV)
However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”
The people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai and cooked up a ruse. They posed as travelers: their donkeys loaded with patched sacks and mended wineskins, threadbare sandals on their feet, tattered clothes on their bodies, nothing but dry crusts and crumbs for food. They came to Joshua at Gilgal and spoke to the men of Israel, “We’ve come from a far-off country; make a covenant with us.”
“But when the people of Gibeon [the Hivites] heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they too acted craftily and cunningly, and set out and took along provisions, but took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins (leather bottles) that were worn out and split open and patched together, and worn-out and patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes; and all their supply of food was dry and had turned to crumbs. They went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; so now, make a covenant (treaty) with us.” -AMPLIFIED
Yesterday we addressed the fact that all the nations within the Promised Land feared the Israelites and their God. One of those nations decided that they were going to handle the situation a little differently than the others. Whereas all the other nations banded together to come against Israel; the Gibeonites came up with an elaborate hoax in order to save their hides.
The people of Gibeon appointed a committee to go to the Israelites as representatives of their people; outfitting these representatives as travelers who had journeyed far. We find them traveling with donkeys loaded with worn-out old sacks and cracked, old wineskins. The travelers clothes were also patched and worn and their bread was dry and moldy. These Gibeonites really played up their part to make it appear as if they had come from a far distance. When in fact, we find that the Gibeonites had traveled only a short distance and their home was within the borders of the land that God had designated as the inheritance of Israel.
Sadly, Joshua and the people of Israel were taken in by this ruse. At first they were a bit skeptical, but as the Gibeonites told them their falsehoods and lies the people were taken in completely. Instead of seeking God first to receive His counsel, we find them offering the people of Gibeon a peace treaty. (The Gibeonites used that sly old tool that the Enemy often uses, deception.)
Let’s stop and remember God’s instructions given to the people through Moses; which were given to them before entering the land. They are as follows, “When God, your God, brings you into the country that you are about to enter and take over, he will clear out the superpowers that were there before you: the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Those seven nations are all bigger and stronger than you are. God, your God, will turn them over to you and you will conquer them. You must completely destroy them, offering them up as a holy destruction to God. Don’t make a treaty with them. Don’t let them off in any way.” -Deuteronomy 7:1-2 (MSG)
The Gibeonites were part of the Hivite nation; one of the seven that were to be completely destroyed. God’s words were quite clear, Israel was not to make a treaty with any of the above nations or give them accommodations, aid or support in any way. Yet, we find Joshua and the people failing miserably in following this directive at this time.
“The men of Israel used their own eyes to look things over. Everything looked right to them. They heard the men’s explanation. Everything sounded right to them. They may have even smelled the bread and the dirty men! Everything smelled right to them. The Israelite men trusted their own senses. But they did not pray and ask God. The Bible tells us it is our pride that keeps us from seeking God. Our pride makes us think we know what is best. “In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” – Psalm 10:4 (NIV)” -Families in Truth (International Bible Society)
Joshua and his leaders had an important decision to make and they chose poorly. Remember the importance of seeking God first in everything. No matter how things may appear to us, we do not know what is best, but God does. God knows what we need, where we should go and how things should be done. Seek His guidance in every decision you make. He will never steer you wrong.
“Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” -Proverbs 3:6 (NLT)
Lord God, help me to remember to turn to you for direction. I want to make wise choices and I know that is only possible when I seek you. I know the Enemy of my soul often uses deception to lure me away and try to fool me. Help me to listen to that still small voice within, your Holy Spirit, and make godly choices that will be pleasing to you. Help me not to be taken in by the lies of the Enemy. I am seeking your will and your ways in my life. Please show me the paths that I am to take.