• William T. Howe Ph.D.

March 13, 2021

Daily Reading: Joshua 9-11

Joshua 9:14

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.

"Things are not always as they appear." Joshua learned this. The people of Gibeon heard how Israel defeated Jericho and Ai. They knew they were next in line geographically. The people of Gibeon must have felt that if Jericho and Ai could not withstand Israel, how could they? Therefore they came up with a plan. They would pretend to be ambassadors come from a far place; they made their appearance like they had traveled a long distance, made their food items appear to be old by making their bread moldy. It was all a ruse. A planned deception. And it worked!

When they met Joshua, well Joshua 9:6 records it like this: And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us. To Joshua's credit he did ask them where they were from, he examined their clothes, their food items, everything they said, and all their appearance told him that their story was true. So... again, let the Word of God tell the story. Joshua 9:15, 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. The decision was made. Israel made peace with them, giving them their word that they would be safe.

But things are not always as they appear as Joshua would soon learn. The Gibeonites purposely mislead them with a cunning and well carried out plan. When the people of Israel found out the truth, the rank-and-file citizens of Israel were upset and murmured against their leaders. They knew that they were not supposed to make peace with the "ites" of the land. They knew the command of God concerning this. The people of Gibeon being Hivites, they were to be destroyed not accommodated. Joshua faced a failure of leadership. On one hand he was supposed to destroy the "ites" but on the other hand he had given his word of safety to them. He was trapped.

Looking back it must have dawned on Joshua, "I didn't even pray about it." The Bible is clear about this saying, And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. If he had prayed, perhaps the Lord would have allowed him to sidestep this snare. But he did not pray, he depended upon that which he saw instead of depending upon the Lord's leadership.

Some things are clear, they are told to us in God's Word, concerning these things prayer is not needed, only obedience is needed. But many things, things that are unclear, things that are unproven, these things must be approached through prayer. The Lord God knew of the subterfuge of the Hivites. All Joshua and Israel needed to do was ask Him. But they didn't, and they were snared with the words of their own mouths. How many times have we been there? Right!

So, remember, "Things are not always as they appear." When in doubt, even the smallest amount of doubt or concern, learn to pray. Give God time to answer. He will if you will.

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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