I am following my New Year’s goal to read the Bible in a year, and I am now well into the book of Joshua. It has been such a wonderful journey walking through Scriptures that I have not looked at in years. Oh but it is so humbling too…how much I have yet to learn and understand. I am glad I have eternity to learn from the Lord!
Today I read through chapter nine in Joshua, in which the Israelites were about to conquer the land of Gibeon. Having heard about God’s mighty works against the enemies of the Israelites, the people of Gibeon sent “ambassadors” to Joshua and the leaders to trick them into an oath not to kill their people. From the Israelites point of view, the men appeared to be truthful and the oath they were asked to take made perfect sense, in light of all they could see in the moment.
The back end of verse 14 is the clincher:
14Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. 15 So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them. (Joshua 9:14-15)
When the Israelites found out they were deceived, they could not go back on the oath they made. Instead they took the people to be slaves as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of the Lord.
Now I have not read ahead, so I am not sure how well this arrangement worked out for everyone. At first glance, it appears convenient –the Israelites got some free workers out of the deal. But I would think the Gibeonites would be more of a burden than a help, even if they are somewhat peaceable. Afterall, God’s original plan for the Israelites was to conquer the land the land and destroy all the inhabitants. I don’t know about you, but having remnants of something that was supposed to be removed completely can be rather bothersome to me.
All because they did not ask counsel of the Lord.
This struck me especially because this situation arose from an honest mistake. Joshua and the Israelites were not trying to rebel. The circumstances before them seemed to yield a simple solution. But what they didn’t know, God knows; what they didn’t see, God sees. And a simple check-in with God could have led to some very different results.
Confident of my own interpretation of LIFE, I do the same thing. When a piece of the puzzle is presented to me, I think I see the whole picture. Most of the time, I do not.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (2 Corinthians 10:12)
I have learned to ask God about so many things – even the “little” stuff. But I am still learning, so I’m thankful for reminders in Scripture (like this one) to take a step back and ask God what He thinks. Then to wait for His answer.
If it turns out I already know the right answer, then God assures me with His peace. If I am wrong, God will usually cause a pause in my Spirit that prompts me to wait and listen. Sometimes I do hear a small voice within me pointing me to the right thing; sometimes God leads through the wisdom of others or directly from His Word.
Whatever the situation, His voice and prompting are always worth the wait. It is in His will and His leading I find security, peace and protection from “remnants” of things that should not be. May I always remember to ask counsel of the Lord….in everything.