Monday, October 18, 2010

open for deception

So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.
Joshua 9:14-15

When reading chapter nine of Joshua, there is not something hugely tragic, just a sad realization that a lack of spiritual discernment left the nation of Israel vulnerable for deception. Things could have turned out worse. They still did not turn out well. The residents of a four city coalition, led by Gibeon, were aware of the reputation of Israel and how God had empowered the Jews in battles that had captured territory. They feared for their lives and decided to play a bluff against Israel. They outfitted a delegation to meet Israel, claiming to be residents of a far-off non-Canaanite clan. They begged for peace with Israel, well aware of their reputation. The leaders of Israel hastily fell for the trap, forgetting to ask counsel from God.

Three days later, when Israel discovered the ruse, it was too late. Outside these Canaanite cities they quickly discovered they had made peace with a people God had commanded them to conquer. The compromise they came up with was to force these deceivers into forced labor. The deceptive cities became the suppliers of water and fuel for Israel's armies. This kept the peace, honored the word of the leaders, and satisfied the Gibeonites. But it was ultimately less than what God had originally wanted for the nation.

The simple truth of this episode is that if we wander far from seeking God, we are open for deception. And I will keep the application simple for myself. I must not get out of the habit of regularly seeking God's truth in His Word. I must not get out of the relationship of daily prayer. It is how I hear from God and commit myself to doing what He shows me to do. If I let this slip, I open myself for little failures and big deceptions.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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