Joshua 9

Sunday Evening Bible Study

April 11, 1999

 

Introduction

The book of Joshua is a book about taking the Promised Land.

The Promised Land of learning to receive all that God has for us in our personal lives - victory over sin, experiencing God's peace, joy, love, power.

The principles that governed the nation taking the Promised Land are the same principles that help us live in God's promises.

We've seen recently:

Israel had a great victory in taking the city of Jericho. All they did was march around the city and shout. God took the walls down.

Israel had a humiliating defeat at Ai. They failed in their next step because there was sin in the camp. After taking care of the sin, God gave them a great victory at Ai. After being discouraged, get back in the saddle!

:1-2 Enemies Gathered

:1 Hittite ... Amorite ... Canaanite ...

These six groups of nations are the same ones that God promised to deliver into the hands of the Israelites.

(Deu 7:1 KJV) When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

The Girgashites arenít included in the list in Joshua 9:1

:3-15 The Gibeonite Plan

:3 Gibeon

Gibeon is 16 miles from the campsite at Gilgal, where they meet the Israelites. Identified with El Jib, about 6 miles (10 km) NW of Jerusalem.

:4 wilily

craftily

:4 wine bottles Ö rent Ö bound

Wine skins that had been torn and repaired.

:5 clouted

patched Ė if you havenít caught on yet, theyíre trying to look like theyíve been on the road for a LONG time.

:6 league

covenant or treaty

:7 unto the Hivites

We find out that the Gibeonites were actually from the race of the Hivites, one of the peoples condemned in God's judgement on the land.

They didn't realize who these people were.

:7 Peradventure ye dwell among us

They were not to make any treaties with the people in the land.

(Deu 7:1-6 KJV) When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; {2} And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: {3} Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. {4} For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. {5} But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. {6} For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

If they made any agreements with these people, it would bring them down.

:14 the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD

They made their decision based on what their eyes saw, and not based on what God was saying.

:15 Joshua made peace with them

Looking at the outward circumstances, this was an okay thing for Joshua to do.

If these people really were from a far away land, Israel was allowed to make a treaty of peace with them. Moses had laid out God's rules for warfare:

(Deu 20:10-12 KJV) When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. {11} And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. {12} And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:

(Deu 20:15 KJV) Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.

With those nations that were far off, they were allowed to make treaties with. But of the nations in the land of their inheritance, they were not to make treaties with.

(Deu 20:16-18 KJV) But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: {17} But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: {18} That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.

If these people really were from such a far away place, it would have been correct to make a peace treaty with them, because they wouldn't be able to negatively influence the Israelites. But the problem was, these people weren't from a far away place.

It's kind of like what God commands Christians:

(2 Cor 6:14-18 KJV) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? {15} And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? {16} And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. {17} Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, {18} And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

This morning we were talking about how Jesus is the "friend of sinners". Here we see the other side of it, and realize that there needs to be a limit to where our friendship leads.

Itís not that we need to "utterly destroy" unbelievers, but we need to be careful that they do not have such an influence over us that they turn around and hinder our walk.

If your relationships with unbelievers are too strong, they may have the ability of leading you away from the Lord.

I canít tell you the number of times Iíve seen a Christian gal start to date a non-Christian guy from work. It is the rare case that the guy comes to know the Lord and it sticks. Usually the gal ends up falling away or at least compromising in her walk.

:16-21 The truth comes out

:16-17 three days

They find out after three days because on the third day, the nation arrived at the doorstep of Gibeon. If they had only waited three more days ...

Lesson

Sometimes it pays to wait just a little longer.

I know that sometimes we can simply drag out decisions too long. But sometimes it doesnít hurt to make sure you are doing the right thing.

:18 smote them not

They didnít attack Gibeon because the leaders made them hold to the treaty they had made.

Lesson

Your promise counts

God expects you to keep your promise, even if you didn't ask His advice first.

Just look at what happens later on in the history of Israel in regards to the Gibeonites:

(2 Sam 21:1-6 KJV) Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. {2} And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) {3} Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the LORD? {4} And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you. {5} And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, {6} Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, whom the LORD did choose. And the king said, I will give them.

After these seven sons of Saul were killed, rain came and the famine ended.

Explanation:

Apparently Saul had gone out in one of his campaigns, and began to slaughter the Gibeonites, the same ones from Joshua's promise.

But as far as God was concerned, a promise was a promise. And Israel had promised not to kill the Gibeonites.

As the furor from the Gibeonites rose up to heaven, God honored Israel's covenant with Gibeon, and brought a famine on the land to get Israel's attention.

God wanted Gibeon to see that He made His people keep their promises.

It wasn't God that required human sacrifice, it was the Gibeonites. Because the Gibeonites wanted it, God allowed them to ask for it.

Notice, the Gibeonites have lived in Israel now for 400 years, and theyíre still so pagan as to be asking for human sacrifice.

Do you think God is serious about you keeping your promises?

(Deu 23:21-23 NIV) If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. {22} But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. {23} Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.

(Prov 20:25 NLT) It is dangerous to make a rash promise to God before counting the cost.

Do you think God wants you to keep your promises, even when you made them foolishly?

As a general rule, YES!

Marriages - stay in your marriage. If you're not married yet, be careful what you get in to!

The couple that wasn't following the Lord, but got married. Does their marriage count? You bet!

Debt - I think God wants you to pay what you owe. Even if you got into debt while being carnal!

To your kids: Keep your promises or don't promise too quickly!

As a business man/woman

Because you claim the name of Jesus, you should be the most ethical, dependable person that your clients know. After all, you represent the most ethical, dependable person in the universe - Jesus!

:18 all the congregation murmured against the princes

Itís not easy being the person in the place of making decisions. I think that sometimes we think it must be grand and glorious to be in charge. More than likely itís a matter of being the one that everyone complains about. You arenít going to make everyone happy.

:21 hewers of wood and drawers of water

There's a kind of compromise here.

In God's instructions about warfare, when an agreement was made with a foreign land, that foreign land became a "tributary", or, a "servant" of Israel. And so, the Gibeonites, since they can't be killed, are at least made servants of the nation.

:22-27 Joshua's judgment on Gibeonites

:23 cursed

They are now going to be servants.

:24 we were sore afraid of our lives

In a way, you can't blame the Gibeonites for saving their own lives.

If they had stood against Israel in battle, they would have been wiped out. At least now they are spared.

Was this league with the Gibeonites a good thing or a bad thing? Were they justified in their deception?

It was certainly good for the Gibeonites. It seems to have been a bad thing for Israel.

They saved their lives, but they did it in a way that wasn't justifiable.

Mathew Henry: Had they owned their country, but left its idolatries, giving up themselves to the God of Israel, we have reason to think Joshua would have been directed by the oracle of God to spare their lives.

In other words, they could have been honest with the Israelites, plead mercy with them, repented of their idolatries, and fell at the mercy of God.

Was there a precedence for this kind of thing?

Think of how Rahab the harlot was treated.

She was open and honest with the spies. She protected and helped them. She was from the condemned peoples, yet she was spared and eventually absorbed into the people of God.

The Gibeonites on the other hand, apparently stayed separate.

We might think, "Gosh, at least they saved their lives! At least they are now serving the God of Israel!'

They saved their lives, but it wasn't as good as it could have been.

There was no excuse for their lying and deception.

Lesson

Tell the truth.

At least the Gibeonites survived, huh? But they ended up as slaves.

If they had told the truth, they might have been incorporated into Israel.

Itís when we get to the truth and tell the truth, that we continue to grow in the Lord.

Donít be making excuses. Tell the truth.

(Eph 4:14-15 KJV) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; {15} But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

:14 the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.

Things arenít always what they seem. People donít always tell you the truth.

Lesson

You donít have to rush into decisions based on every new thing.

Sometimes we feel pressured by people to make decisions. Sometimes weíd all be a lot better off if we just told people to wait until we made a decision.

Lesson

Take time to ask God for directions.

He sees so much more than you do. He sees right through everyoneís façade.

How do I know if God is speaking to me?

1. Godís Word.

This is the most important aspect of understanding God's will for our lives.

It is the hardest (compared to the others) to misunderstand, though even that can easily happen.

(Psa 119:105 KJV) NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Read your Bible. Learn God's ways and standards.

Listen to the direct verses aimed at you.

There are going to be times when you are going to read a verse, and rather than just understanding the principles, you'll feel as if God were actually speaking this verse to you personally.

Example for me:

(Gen 49:7 KJV) Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

This was one of the highlights this week for me in my devotions. Itís funny because when I first read it, I was thinking about how hard it is to get along with angry people. Then I spent the next twenty four hours being angry at people!

Another example:

When we were buying our house, I got scared and wanted to back out of the deal. After Ken called up the other realtor, I sat down and had my Quiet Time:

(Deu 1:21 KJV) Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.

(Deu 1:26 KJV) Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God:

We called the guy back up and got the deal back on the table and everything worked out fine.

2. Your heart in prayer

Warning: It's very, very tricky! The heart is very deceitful (Jer. 17:9)

The principle to base this on:

(Psa 37:4 KJV) Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

I believe this happens in prayer

Prayer is the furnace, and your heart is the metal.

The more you spend in prayer, the more God can mold your heart.

But it has to be healthy prayer.

3. Counsel

Going to a godly friend or two and asking their advice.

(Prov 11:14 KJV) Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

(Prov 15:22 KJV) Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

(Prov 24:6 KJV) For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Warning: You aren't always going to get good counsel either!

Rehoboam - got counsel from his younger friends, got counsel from the older men, and took the wrong counsel, leading to the splitting up of the kingdom.