But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning
and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks
for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of
Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a
covenant with us...” So the men took some of their provisions,
but did not ask counsel from the LORD. And Joshua made peace
with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live,
and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.
If you are reading the One Year Bible this year, you have likely passed this portion of Scripture already. Interestingly, it is one of the passages that has most stuck in my mind. The Gibeonites were cunning; they did not want to be captured and killed like the surrounding towns. They knew that if they did not do something and do it fast, they would be obliterated as the fellows who had already been accosted by the army of the Lord. So they put on their thinking caps and devised a rather effective plan. Guess what? The Israelites fell for it. Why? BECAUSE THEY DID NOT ASK COUNSEL FROM THE LORD.
Ouch! That hurts! How many times have I plowed ahead without consulting the Lord in a matter? How often have I feared a situation and done the easy thing rather than the right thing? How many times have I just wanted to do something and feared God's answer if I asked? Do I not fear God's reprisal more?
Later on Israel was forced to defend the Gibeonites when they were attacked. We see a picture of God's mercy, as He defeats their enemy through the army of Israel. But nonetheless, they were an extra burden to Israel, one which God had originally commanded them to destroy.
When we do not consult the Lord we are asking for an extra burden in our lives. Satan loves to hang something over us which will hinder our productivity for Christ. Wrong choices, whether in our moral conduct, our life partners, our choice of friends, our decisions about how we handle our finances--you can name others--will determine how effectively we will serve the Lord.
A word for my grandchildren: Please don't jump off a cliff before asking the Lord if there is a safety net beneath it! (If you don't understand that analogy, ask your mom.) If we will only consult the Lord before we make any major decision, and then obey His leading, we will be so much farther ahead in the Christian life.
Standing on the cliff, kids: Should I jump?