“Saints not only desire to love and speak truth with their lips, but they seek to be true within; they will not lie even in the closet of their hearts, for God is there to listen; they scorn double meanings, evasions, equivocations, white lies, flatteries, and deceptions.”
– C.H. Spurgeon
If this is true about God’s people, then I can’t imagine how they felt when they were deceived by the inhabitants of Gibeon in Joshua 9. Not only were the men of Israel tricked into believing that the people God told them to conquer were people within, but they were using their faith to deceive them (v. 9). After telling Joshua and the men of Israel that they were servants of Israel and traveled from a distant country to serve them, Joshua made a covenant to protect them. Days later, they found out the truth about them, that they were people of the land that God told them to take over and destroy it’s inhabitants. This caused the congregation of God’s people to murmur against their leaders but they reminded them that they made a covenant before God and can’t go back on it. So Joshua made good on his promise and made them servants of Israel, sparing their lives and their families’ lives.
There are a few things that we can apply to our lives today from this chapter.
- We need to be aware of people who use God to deceive.
The Gibeonites were afraid of Joshua (rightfully so) so they went through great lengths to trick him into thinking they were with them when God made it clear that they were enemies. In the same way, people will go through great lengths by using God and the Bible to trick Christians. From politics to church policy, people will pick up on our language and use it against us. We need to be careful of false words and first appearances. I am reminded of this the many times people have lied about certain financial needs to extort money from the church, knowing that the church is the very organization who wants to meet the needs of those people. We need to ask God for wisdom and discernment so we don’t get stuck in situations like Joshua did where his people were even upset about the trickery of the Gibeonites.
2. We need to keep our covenants.
Despite their lies, Joshua kept his word with the Gibeonites. That’s how much God’s people valued covenants. It didn’t matter if someone tricked you, even using the God you love against you, they kept their word with them. How opposite of today’s culture. From divorce to revenge, we won’t keep our word when people hurt us or break their promises first. We need to be reminded that we worship a God who keeps His covenant with us when we go back on our words with Him. By keeping our promises to others we represent that God of the Gospel who is faithful to us.
By: Erik Koliser