“But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors.”—Joshua 9:3-4 (NKJV)
Did you know that the physical experiences involving Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land mirror the spiritual experiences of the Christian life? What they went through, naturally, we go through, supernaturally. We see this clearly as we are introduced to the Gibeonites.
In context, Israel is on the march. All the indigenous people of Canaan are terrified of them. They see the writing on the wall that Israel is invincible, so they band together in a desperate attempt to fight them off. Except for the people of Gibeon. They take a much different approach to self-preservation.
Instead of fighting Israel with the sword, they fight with the weapon of deception. Although their land was nearby and well within the range of Israel’s conquest, the Gibeonites sent a contingency pretending to be from a far-away land. They figured that Israel would come to terms of peace with them if they were from afar. And do you know what? It worked!
It worked for one simple reason: God’s people didn’t consult Him. The Gibeonites showed up looking like they had been on a long journey, corroborating their story. They looked the part, but it didn’t change the fact that they were lying the whole time. Only one person saw through the craftily constructed veil of deception: God!
No doubt, God would have warned about the Gibeonites’ deception if only His people had asked: “Lord, these people have come, and it seems they’re telling the truth. We’re about to enter into a binding covenant of peace with them, but thought we should seek Your direction on it before committing ourselves. Do You have a word for us?” How differently the story would have read if only they stopped to pray!
Here’s the spiritual parallel: How differently our lives might be if only we stopped to pray before making a decision or committing ourselves to something. Our heavenly Father sees all, knows all, and loves us more than we can imagine. If there is something we’re about to do that’s going to be harmful, don’t we know that He will be faithful to warn us by the power of His Spirit? But we need to position ourselves in prayer in order to rightly receive that warning.
That’s exactly what Israel didn’t do, and it would cost them for many years to come as they were not able to thoroughly possess the land as God wanted. May we avoid their fate by being a people who constantly stop and seek the Lord in prayer.
Popular posts from this blog
Victory Over Sin When Adam and Eve first disobeyed God and ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, sin became a part of the nature of mankind. Ever since, humans have been born naturally separated from God because of that sin. Because He is perfect, God simply cannot be in close proximity to sin. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were required to frequently sacrifice an unblemished lamb to atone for sin. The offering had to be perfect to cover the debt of sin - it was the only way a person could stay in right standing with God. Jesus is often referred to as the “Lamb of God”, because His sacrifice on the cross covered the sin of humanity. One of the many miracles of the cross is that it reversed the curse of Adam and Eve’s sin: Just as one act of sin separated all of humanity from God, the sacrifice made by one perfect person covered the sin of all people and made a way for reconciliation. Because Jesus offered Himself for us, we hav
“So Far So God” After the Israelites pulled off an upset victory over the Philistines, the prophet Samuel built an altar and named it Ebenezer, signifying that the Lord had helped them up to that point. The altar was a way of saying to the people, “The God who did it before can do it again.” We all need Ebenezers. Reminders that the God who got us here will get us there . That the God who did this will do that . An Ebenezer is a way of recognizing and celebrating the success God has given us along the way in pursuing our dream. After our church built our coffeehouse on Capitol Hill, we decided to name it Ebenezers. We were afraid that some people would associate it with Ebenezer Scrooge, but it was a risk worth taking. There were so many miracles in the process of purchasing, rezoning, and building our coffeehouse that we wanted to name it what it was. On our coffee sleeves at Ebenezers, there is a Scripture reference that looks like a SKU code—ISAM712. There are also ini