Have you ever been scammed? I have, more times than I’d care to admit. It’s when you fall for a clever scam artist and you end up losing money — or worse. Did you know that God could help you when you face a situation that may not be in the up-and-up? That’s the lesson that Joshua and company learned in today’s chapter. Let’s dig in….
Joshua 9 – The Gibeonites Deceive Israel
Now all the kings west of the Jordan River heard about what had happened. These were the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who lived in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea as far north as the Lebanon mountains. 2 These kings combined their armies to fight as one against Joshua and the Israelites.
3 But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. 5 They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. 6 When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal, they told Joshua and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us.”
7 The Israelites replied to these Hivites, “How do we know you don’t live nearby? For if you do, we cannot make a treaty with you.”
8 They replied, “We are your servants.”
“But who are you?” Joshua demanded. “Where do you come from?”
9 They answered, “Your servants have come from a very distant country. We have heard of the might of the Lord your God and of all he did in Egypt. 10 We have also heard what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River—King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan (who lived in Ashtaroth). 11 So our elders and all our people instructed us, ‘Take supplies for a long journey. Go meet with the people of Israel and tell them, “We are your servants; please make a treaty with us.”’
12 “This bread was hot from the ovens when we left our homes. But now, as you can see, it is dry and moldy. 13 These wineskins were new when we filled them, but now they are old and split open. And our clothing and sandals are worn out from our very long journey.”
14 So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord. 15 Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath.
16 Three days after making the treaty, they learned that these people actually lived nearby! 17 The Israelites set out at once to investigate and reached their towns in three days. The names of these towns were Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack the towns, for the Israelite leaders had made a vow to them in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
The people of Israel grumbled against their leaders because of the treaty. 19 But the leaders replied, “Since we have sworn an oath in the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel, we cannot touch them. 20 This is what we must do. We must let them live, for divine anger would come upon us if we broke our oath. 21 Let them live.” So they made them woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community, as the Israelite leaders directed.
22 Joshua called together the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you lie to us? Why did you say that you live in a distant land when you live right here among us? 23 May you be cursed! From now on you will always be servants who cut wood and carry water for the house of my God.”
24 They replied, “We did it because we—your servants—were clearly told that the Lord your God commanded his servant Moses to give you this entire land and to destroy all the people living in it. So we feared greatly for our lives because of you. That is why we have done this. 25 Now we are at your mercy—do to us whatever you think is right.”
26 So Joshua did not allow the people of Israel to kill them. 27 But that day he made the Gibeonites the woodcutters and water carriers for the community of Israel and for the altar of the Lord—wherever the Lord would choose to build it. And that is what they do to this day.Joshua 9 NLT
No Prayer, No Wisdom
Joshua and company were hoodwinked by a group of lying Canaanites. What’s the lesson here? Let’s turn to one of the Bible studies in the YouVersion Bible app…
To save their city, the people of Gibeon used an elaborate ruse to trick Joshua. God’s instructions permitted Israel to make an offer of peace with distant cities, but demanded the conquest of the seven neighboring Canaanite nations. Joshua tried to discern the truth but neglected to ask the Lord’s instructions. Without prayer, he lacked the wisdom to spot the enemy standing right in front of him. When the truth came out, Joshua had no choice but to honor the treaty. The Gibeonites were allowed to live as servants “for the house of God,” where they learned firsthand about the powerful God of Israel. God graciously turned their judgment into a chance to have a relationship with Him.YouVersion plan “Strong and Courageous: A Study in Joshua”
Here are some thoughts from Spoken Gospel….
God promised Israel the land of Canaan, but it was never meant for just Israel.
God promised Abraham that through his offspring all the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). Gibeon is one of those nations. And just as the first father of Israel believed God and was promised to be the father of many nations through his offspring, Gibeon believes God and thus becomes part of God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:6).
The Apostle Paul says that when Abraham believed God would give him his promised offspring, he was actually trusting in Jesus, even if he didn’t know his name (Galatians 3:16). Ultimately that’s why Gibeon’s deception works. When Gibeon quotes God’s promises to Abraham and pleads for Joshua’s mercy, they are really throwing themselves on the mercy of Jesus (Galatians 3:26, 29). That’s why even a group of lying Cannanites can become God’s people.
Like the Canaanites’ land, our lives belong to God. One day he will take it back. One day the grave will demand our destruction. God’s warpath is inevitable. But the good news is that we don’t have to trick God into accepting us into his eternal kingdom. We do not have to act like someone we are not or pretend we are better than we are. We don’t have to deny our nationality or ethnic heritage (Galatians 3:28). We become children of God and citizens of his Kingdom. We can own land in his new world. These promises won’t happen by pretending or hiding who we are, but by trusting that God’s promises are true and that Jesus is powerful to bring them to pass.“Jesus in all of Joshua” by Spoken Gospel
Are YOU Trying to Deceive God?
- Critical Race Theory (CRT)
- Idolatry of any kind, worshiping anything or anyone but or besides Jesus
- New Age
- Gender Fluidity
- “Many Truths”
- Replacement Theology
- Progressive Theology
If you are accepting of any these practices, which are despicable and an abomination to God, then you are trying to trick God into accepting you by being “nice” and loving the world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
The Good News is that we don’t have to trick God into accepting us into His Kingdom! God takes us as we are! Consequently, when we surrender our lives to Him and repent of our sinful ways, He molds us into righteousness. We are reborn into new lives worthy to enter His presence when we die. And in the meantime, we get the Holy Spirit that we can call on, through prayer, to help us make the right decisions — no matter how small they are!
20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world?Colossians 2:20 NLT
13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.Matthew 7:13 NLT
Which road are you on? The right, narrow path to Heaven or the wide destructive path to hell?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven and that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!
Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)