The story really has a happy ending for everyone. Joshua has his work cut out for him in his conquests of the land. From the sounds of it, his neighbors are less than thrilled to have the Israelites in their midst. “These kings combined their armies to fight as one against Joshua and the Israelites.”
But before Joshua has to contend with them, the Gibeonites showed up seeking mercy. They certainly didn’t come right out and ask. They feared the Lord and felt like they had to hide their intentions in deception. I have to admit that had they waltzed into Joshua’s presence with a plea of safety, they would probably have been laughed at! Joshua knew what his role was, and befriending close neighbors was not part of it.
The line that about jumped off the page and slapped me in the face was, “So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord.” At that moment, I feared for what might happen. After God’s anger had riled over their disobedience before, how would it go if they went off script again so soon. It’s always good to consult God in big decisions to make sure you’re not making a mistake. Our mistakes often come when we don’t turn to God.
Thankfully, it does not appear, at least at the moment, that God’s anger burned because of the treaty given by the Israelites to their “enemies.” In fact, it turned out quite well for them. The Israelites now had what sounds to be servants to care for some of tasks that are less than desirable. Who doesn’t want to have help with those things? I know I love having a “maid” now that we’re living in Mexico. I feel very blessed. She and I are becoming friends, too. I’ve heard that’s odd for “gringo” ladies, but I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
It was a happy ending for Gibeonites, too. They could have all died in battle and had their towns decimated. They knew that God’s army would be trampling them down. While they used deception, it was a creative way to save their lives. Their sacrifice was hard labor. Maybe being around the faithful Israelites and witnessing God in their midst would cause them to follow that God, too.
I suppose that’s what I think about when hanging with those who don’t yet follow Christ. I’m not afraid of falling into their traps. My faith is strong. My determination is greater to want to help them see the truth. I know how it feels to be the daughter of the King, and I’d really not want anyone else to miss feeling that assurance and peace. To be totally loved is a marvelous feeling.
Take some time today to let this story sink in for you. What lessons is it speaking to your heart?
Let’s pray … Heavenly Father, you are good and mighty and full of the wisdom I want for my life. I want to walk in your ways and follow your leading. Help me not rush into decisions without checking with you first. Grant me the wisdom to be patient for your answer. Thank you for your guidance and unfailing love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.