Joshua 9:14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.
15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.
God commanded Joshua to take His Word and read it and meditate in it day and night.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Joshua had been in training for some 40 years prior to this. He had been walking with Moses and had been learning how to lead through that time. He had witnessed the failures of Moses as well as the successes. Moses was dead and Joshua was appointed the leader of the nation of Israel by God. He needed to know how to be successful as a leader.
God gave him very clear instructions on the way of success as the leader. The Word of God is essential to the child of God. We know already that Joshua did not consult with God after their victory at Jericho. They assumed that Ai would be an easy conquest for them. Joshua, being a man did not know that Achan had stolen from the Lord. He did not consult with the Lord as to the next step in taking Ai and thus he was not made aware of this sin. Israel was defeated at Ai due to this sin and Joshua began to complain to God about this disaster. God rebuked him and told him there was sin in the camp that needed to be dealt with before they could move on in taking the land that God had promised to them.
Joshua then listened to God and after dealing with the sin, Israel was successful at Ai. The nations around there learned of the victory of the nation of Israel and we read that several kings got together and formed an alliance to go after Israel, together. They assumed that a larger army would be the solution to Israel’s advancement in the land of Canaan. They did not understand that the God of Creation was giving Israel success in taking over the land which He had promised to Abraham, several hundred years before.
The Gibeonites decided to take a different approach to this. They were afraid of going against Israel. In verse 9 of our text we see that the Gibeonites knew some things about the LORD God. They knew that Israel’s success was due to their relationship with the LORD God. The Gibeonites did not have this relationship, and they were not seeking that relationship. They just wanted to survive. They believed the way to survive was through deception and negotiation based on that deception.
As we see in chapter 9, the leaders of Israel talked to the Gibeonites and asked them questions and they looked at the evidence presented to them, and they assumed that they were being given accurate information. They assumed that pagan people would be honest people.
In verse 14, God recorded the fact that even though the leaders of Israel had discussed this matter with the Gibeonites, they did not bother to talk to Him about the matter. This was a major error on their part.
It is important to talk to people and listen to what they have to say. It is also important to understand that lost people will do whatever they believe is good for them. They do not care about truth. They care about personal gain.
Born again Christians should be trustworthy but it is always good to make sure we talk to God about our plans and about decisions we are planning to make. We can convince ourselves that wrong is right and right is wrong. We know that God is never in a hurry. He acts in accordance with His will and His way. Waiting on Him is never a waste of time, even though we may sometimes think it is.
Since Joshua and the people did not consult with God on this important matter, they chose to make a league with the Gibeonites. They were told, prior to entering the land of Canaan, not to make any covenant with the people of the land. Deuteronomy 7:2 states that. It is also stated elsewhere. Thus the leaders of the nation of Israel should have known that they were acting in disobedience to the clear will of God in accepting the plea of the Gibeonites.
God shows us how important it is for us to listen to Him. He knows what He is talking about. He knows how easily those who are His children can be led astray. That is a key reason for Biblical separation. In our text, Joshua failed to follow God’s clear instructions. The result was that they made a league with a people who did not know the true God and who did not walk in the fear of the LORD.
This sin of disobedience would create a problem for Israel down the road as well. King Saul would try to reverse this covenant that Joshua made with the Gibeonites and that would be a further problem for Israel that God would bring up with king David. David would need to deal with this sin in order to have God’s forgiveness for the sins of his predecessor, king Saul.
We are not living in the land of Israel today. We do not believe in “replacement theology”. The promises that are specific to Israel are still specific to Israel. The command to walk separated lives is still effective today whether we are believing Jews or believing Gentiles. The importance of consulting God’s Word to know His direction for us is still important for all saved people today.
When we are consulting God’s Word, we cannot allow our biases to supersede God’s Word. God’s Word must take precedence. We can see from our text that it is quite easy for us as people to assume things that are not true. We can also know that people can lie in ways that are quite convincing. We do not need to go around believing that everybody is lying to us. We do need to be careful to pray to God and seek His counsel before we make decisions.
As we see in the history of the nation of Israel, God did not allow them to erase this faulty covenant that they made with the Gibeonites. They needed to live with the consequences of that sin. God expects His people to live by His Word. When we do that, we can avoid the problems that come from making commitments that we may end up regretting later on.
There are those who look at things like this, and assume that what I am saying here is “legalism”. As soon as we look at requirements that God makes, some people oppose that. The reason people oppose God’s order is because they do not want to follow orders other than the ones they invent. God is not teaching works salvation. He is not seeking to deprive anyone of blessings. He wants to give His blessings. There are general blessings that all people receive, such as sunshine and rain. There are particular blessings that are for those who are saved such as eternal life and forgiveness of sins. There are also particular blessings for those who are saved and seeking to walk in obedience to God’s will and way such as peace of heart and mind. The wise person does not fight with God. The wise person learns that God is always right and following Him is the right way to go.
Joshua was not a rebel. He was not looking for a way to avoid God’s truth. It seems that in some areas he was careless. He did not walk circumspectly. We do not sit in judgment of him. We need to take these things and learn from them. We need to learn the importance of listening to God in all things. We need to pay attention to detail. Some people are very detailed about things in this life. We need to learn to pay attention to God’s Word in all things and enjoy His blessings in doing so. This is not cumbersome. It is not a “joy-killer”. It is a joy to walk with God and learn to follow Him faithfully.