Summary: This blogs deals with the concept of right decision making from Joshua 9 & 10. A brief look at the Gibeonite deception and how we can make the right decisions in life?
Do you know that the decisions we make are very important? We can be influenced or tricked to make decisions in life? I am sure we have all made some terrible decisions in life and we regret them.
Life is full of such decision makings. Studies say that on an average a person makes 35000 decisions every day. We do small decision making like what to eat, which way to take and so on. We also do big decision making like which career to take, where to settle down, whom to marry and so on which can have some lasting effects in our life.
Today I want to speak about how to make the right decision with the Lord’s help or how not to be deceived in our decision making.
The people of Israel have defeated Jericho and Ai. Now they are preparing to march deeper into Canaan as they claim their Promised Land. They have seen some great victories; however, before they could win another victory, the Israelite leaders were deceived into a very wrong decision making.
Joshua 9:3-6 3…..when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. 5They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. 6Then 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.”
Joshua 9:15-16 15Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath. 16Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors living near them.
Joshua 9:22 Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you deceive us by saying, ‘We live a long way from you,’ while actually you live near us?
Here we find God’s people being deceived into making a peace treaty decision, which they bitterly regretted. Let’s look at some life principles from this passage.
1. Battle in spite of Devotion.
In Joshua 9:1-2, six kings had allied together to fight against Joshua. Joshua 9:1-2 1Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things—the kings in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)— 2they came together to wage war against Joshua and Israel.
After the victory of Ai, Israel had gathered to worship in Joshua 8:30-35. They were worshipping God, they were rededicating their lives to God but at the same time her enemies had gathered to plan an attack on Israel. I want you to notice that sometimes your worship to God and battles against you can occur at the same time. You may be doing everything right yet facing challenges.
I don’t know if you are sitting here facing a lot of battles in life. But I want to tell you that when you worship God there can be a battle. When you dedicate yourself to God and advance in God, the enemy can sometimes plan a battle against you. If you are facing a challenge today, don’t be afraid. Your enemies maybe mightier than you, you may not know their plans but if you continue to worship God, He will fight the battle for you.
So don’t be surprised if you are facing a battle in spite of your devotion.
2. Beware of Deception.
What is deception? The Wikipedia defines deception as an act of deceit or bluff to propagate things that are not true.
One on side there was a confederation of Kings who secretly united themselves together to wage war against Joshua, on the other side, another nation, the Gibeonites decided they can do warfare with Israel through inward deception disguising themselves as friends. They will hide their true self in order to win the sympathy of Israel.
The Gibeonites decided on a different course of action. They selected old clothing; stale, dry bread and cracked old wineskins. All of this was done to try to give the impression that they had traveled a long way to reach the camp of Israel. They wanted to deceive Joshua about their origin. We do not know whether they knew that God had told Israel not to make any alliances with the people of Canaan or that just drawn a natural conclusion that that Israel was destroying all the inhabitants from the Promised Land, so they stool no chance to win. So they decided to cheat on them.
Do you know the most famous deception of all time? According to the survey, the Trojan Horse was the greatest deception of all time.
The Trojan Horse is actually a tale from the Trojan War about the deception that the Greeks employed to enter the City of Troy and win the war. The Greeks lay a 10-year siege for the city of Troy, the Greeks finally devised an ingenious plan by constructing a Trojan horse and hid a select force of men inside. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. But that night, the Greek force crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back under the cover of the night. The Greeks entered and destroyed the city of troy, decisively ending the war. Because of that, the Trojan horse became a symbol of a trick or deception.
This was unquestionably one of the biggest and most successful tricks known to history.
The Gibeonites tricked Israel into a peace treaty. We need to be careful, we can be deceived out of our purpose and dreams in life. Talking to the believers at Thessalonica Paul is telling them not to be deceived by the devil regarding the Lord’s coming when the devil he uses some prophets or letters or reports to deceive God’s people. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in anyway.
Friends, if we are not careful we can be deceived in life. We can be deceived by Satan.
Revelation 12:9 KJV And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. The Bible warns that Satan wants to con us out of your most precious possession. Do you know that Satan is a deceiver?
Recognize Satan’s Deceptions.
a. False Doctrine or False Prophets.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 2Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Matthew 7:15-16 15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them.”
James 1:13-16 13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.
Human nature is filled with carnal sins like vanity, jealousy, greed, and lust. Satan can take advantage of that tendency and weakness in all of us.
Flesh is a big list: Adultery, materialism, humanism, pride, lies, bitterness and so on.
c. Lack of faith.
When you go through a circumstance, Satan will try his best to zap your faith.
Ephesians 5:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
d. We can be deceived by People.
Coming back to Joshua 9, see how the Gibeonites deceived the Israelites.
Joshua 9:8 “We are your servants,” they said to Joshua. False humility. They approach you with superficial humility. Smooth words.
Psalm 55:21 His speech is smoot as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.
Do not speak the truth.
Joshua 9:8-9 8“We are your servants,” they said to Joshua. But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?” 9They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God.
Joshua 9:12-13 12This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”
The Gibeonites not only lied but showed false proofs. They gave the impression that they longed to honor God. But notice they did not offer to repent; they only offered to serve.
Beware of making wrong decisions. Beware of decision making based on superficial evidence.
Joshua 9:14-15 14The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. 15Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.
Envoys with the power to conclude a treaty with another nation should have had substantial credentials. It seems incredible they accepted as evidence things that were highly questionable. However, the Bible says they did not ask counsel of the LORD.
Reason Joshua neglected to consult God:
Evidence was strong enough.
They thought they can decide for themselves.
That is spiritual pride. Perhaps Joshua did not ask God because his decision looked so right, it was seemed so obvious.
3. Deception will be Discovered.
Joshua 9:16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them.
Proverbs 12:19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
The story of this deception says that deception, dishonesty, may work temporarily but it is a never a permanent solution. Sooner or later trickery and deceit will be exposed and the truth will come out. Deception will be discovered. So beware.
4. Deception caused the Gibeonites to be slaves of Israel for a lifetime.
The Gibeonites became the servants of the Tabernacle. Joshua 9:21
Is tricks or deception one of the methods we use to get your way in the home, office, school or relationships? Do you act one way before the eyes of people and in an evil, crafty, sly way behind their backs?
5. One compromise leads to another.
Joshua had to go for war to defend the Gibeonites in Joshua 10.
6. The consequence for a bad decision is often irrevocable.
When the deception was discovered, see what the leaders replied to the leaders of Israel said to the people. Numbers 9:19-20 19But all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the Lord, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.”
It took only three days to discover that they had made a mistake, but they had to live with them for a lifetime. They had to find for the Gibeonites when the enemy attached them. Beware of being trapped to a wrong decision making, and once you make it we have to keep our commitments even when it is difficult.
B. Meyer, “Before entering into any alliance – taking a life partner, going for a business partner, yielding assent to any proposition which involves confederation with others – be sure to ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord.”
Pastor and author Alan Redpath has some sound advice on taking things as they appear to be, “When common sense says that a course is right, lift up your head to God, for the path of faith and the path of blessing may be in a direction completely opposite to that which you call common sense. When voices tell you that action is urgent, that something must be done immediately, refer everything to the tribunal of heaven. Then, if you are still in doubt, dare to stand still. If called on to act and you have not time to pray, don’t act.
If you are called on to move in a certain direction and cannot wait until you have peace with God about it, don’t move. Be strong enough and brave enough to dare to stand and wait on God, for none of them that wait on Him shall ever be ashamed. That is the only way to outmatch the devil.” [Alan Redpath, Victorious Christian Living: Studies in the Book of Joshua. (Westwood, NJ: Fleming Revell Co., 1955) pp. 143-143]
Help to right decision making?
1. Pray Continually.
Pray for God’s guidance in seeking his will.
Proverbs 16:1-3 1To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue. 2All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. 3Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
The first step should always be to bring concerns and choices before God in prayer. When you pray, God will help you.
It is important to note that Jesus’s main focus is not fulfilling our requests, but glorifying the Father. If any request is not glorifying to the Father, then it is not worthy of being asked for in the name of Christ and should be avoided.
2. Go to Scripture.
Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple
Psalm 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let not sin rule over me.
The Bible is the primary way in which God speaks to us. The word will keep us from sin and give a light to our path. There is no work of God in any believer’s life that will not conform to the revealed word of God in the Bible.
So search the Scriptures for guidance in all circumstances. If the Scripture does not support an option, that option is to be discarded.
3. Be led by the Spirit.
John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.
Unlike Israel then, we have the Holy Spirit in us and if we are led by the Spirit
Acts 16:6-9 6Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
4. Seek godly counsel.
Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
Even after prayer, diligent searching of Scripture, it can be hard to know the right course. Talk to someone about decision making or the struggles you are facing. It can be a spouse, close friend, mentor, or pastor. Proverbs 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Conclusion: Let’s Commit your immediate decisions into the hands of God. Remember, we can be deceived into wrong decision making like the Israelites. Let’s ask for Godly help in our decision making today.