Have you ever been tricked, duped, into believing something that wasn’t exactly true? Maybe you believed a rumor only to later find out it was false. Or, maybe you purchased an item that turned out to be a dud. When things like that happen, we’re left feeling deceived…maybe even betrayed….as we we were forced to accept less than the best.
The Israelites experienced a deception like that. Joshua, one of Israel’s greatest military leaders, was busy conquering the Promised Land – the land God had specifically promised to give to the Israelites as their permanent possession. God had made a covenant with them: if they would follow His commands and completely destroy the enemies currently living in the land, then He would bless them and give them peace on every side.
In Joshua chapter 9, a group of local people, the Gibeonites, planned a ruse to avoid being destroyed by Joshua’s armies. They put on worn out clothes, carried moldy bread and cracked wineskins and then travelled to meet with Joshua. Upon arrival they declared themselves to be from a very distant land and asked Joshua to make a treaty with them. Since they weren’t close neighbors, they reasoned, there was no need to destroy them.
Verse 14 says the Israelites sampled the provisions of the Gibeonites and assumed their story to be true. They did not, however, take time to inquire of the Lord. As a result, they were tricked – deceived – and the Israelites made a treaty with the Gibeonites. If the Israelites had only asked God what to do, He would have uncovered the plot of the enemy. But they didn’t. After over 40 years of walking with the Lord (being admonished time and again to obey God), one would think the Israelites would’ve known to seek God’s approval on any subject before moving forward.
But, then again, I can understand. I, too, have followed God for many years and still walk by my own sight at times.
Making my own judgements – sampling the provisions of the world around me – and failing to seek God’s will is dangerous. Just as it led Israel to be tricked, I can be deceived…forcing me to accept less than the best God wants for me or resulting in unpleasing consequences.
For instance, I can fill my calendar with activities that seem good to me without inquiring of the Lord, yet I just might discover I’m walking through my days without His guidance. Or, I might respond to situations in my life in ways that feel right or seem wise to me….without inquiring of the Lord as to how I should react. As a result I might do more harm than good as I step outside His plan.
When I choose my own wisdom over God’s, I deceive myself and invite disaster.
How might we sample provisions of the world around us?
- Setting our own schedule without asking God what He would have us do.
- Accepting or declining leadership opportunities without asking His permission.
- Doing what feels right without seeking Him or His word.
What about you, today? Are you making your own plans or seeking after God? Scripture paints a vivid story for us. May we all take heed.
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12