THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 9
The chapter opens with a statement about several of the tribes of people that lived in Canaan. What we aren’t told here is that these tribes were often enemies and at war with one another. What we are told is that these tribes set aside their differences and animosity to create a coalition to defeat and destroy Israel. Their hatred of Israel was enough to make them allies.
And then we encounter the story of Gibeon. These folks came up with an incredibly crafty plan to trick Israel into not destroying them. Put a more direct way, the Gibeonites just lied.
Interestingly enough, the leaders of Israel believed the lie. There is no evidence in the Scripture that Israel’s leaders sought God on the matter. Perhaps they thought the purported evidence was overwhelming. Perhaps they thought the matter was too unimportant or routine to bother God with. Regardless of what happened, it was a mistake for them to trust their own judgment and make their own plans.
There is a difficult lesson here for us. And that is simply there is nothing too trivial to pray about. There is nothing so straightforward that we don’t need God’s direction on it. We should always be in the mode of taking all things to God. That is easy for me to type on this page. But, admittedly, it is often difficult to accomplish. Remember that God cares about every aspect of your life. And He truly desires for you to talk with Him about everything.
Because you have read the chapter, you know what happens. The Gibeonites are found out within three days. Proverbs 12:19 says a “lying tongue lasts only a moment”. Lies are never secrets forever. They will always be found out. Always. Either on this earth or in front of the Father in heaven. Lies will always be discovered.
You might think that when the Israelites found out they had been lied to that they would have backed off their promise and destroyed the people of Gibeon. But they didn’t. There are two reasons they didn’t break their promise. One, in verse 19, they had sworn to the Gibeonites in the name of Yahweh. Breaking an oath that was made in His name was a sure way of experiencing the wrath of God. The second reason is they were people of integrity. They were people of their word. God desires for us to be people whose word is our bond.
The nation of Israel enslaved the Gibeonites. They became the servants they talked about in verse 8. But that is not the end of their story. In the very next chapter, God will perform a great miracle in their behalf. Later the tabernacle would be pitched in Gibeon. And still later some Gibeonites would help Nehemiah rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.
The point of all of that is this. It is true that they lied. But God’s grace is greater than our sin. And the people of Gibeon would become a part of the miraculous story of God. That is really good news for a sinner like me. Some of you might think it is good news for you as well.