“However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended.” Joshua 9: 3-4 NIV
The verse that we looked at yesterday was all part of a deception that the Gibeonites enacted upon Joshua and the Israelites, in hopes that their nearby lands would not be taken over. And it was very successful. Having tricked been tricked into making a treaty, the Israelites could not then break their oath. But the scripture is clear on why the ruse worked so well. The Israelites did not enquire of the Lord.
How often do we make the same mistake! It is so easy, when things seem obvious and the facts and way forward are laid in front of us, to carry on regardless, and forget to pray. I think this is one of the reasons I loathe phrases like “God helps those who help themselves,” because for me the path of following Christ is always more and more of him and less of me. It is always more dependence on his grace lived out and prayed for in every circumstance (big or small) and less self-reliance. In fact, I might go as far as to say that relying on my own wisdom can get me into all sorts of trouble.
Following my God-given instincts prayerfully and relying on the truth of scripture is good practice in life. And all decisions need to be taken with him and not on our own running to him later and saying, didn’t I do well? The longer I live the more I ask the Lord into everything and although there is a confidence based on knowing his ways, this too is founded on trust that he knows best and I don’t. This is probably why I don’t always have confidence when I write theology, because I have no training, but that very fact (though sincerely a weakness and not a strength) means that I can and must lean into him for the wisdom I do not own.
Getting out of our own way, letting him shine, enquiring of him at every crossroads, these are staples of Christian discipleship and growth we should nurture, lest we find ourselves bound by treaties we should never have agreed to.
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