Joshua 9

Joshua 9 has the locals responding to the move by God’s people into the Promised Land.  They have overcome the people in Jericho and Ai, and “As soon as all the kings….the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites….heard of this, they gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel”.  So one response was that these six peoples decided to join together and fight.  But another, the inhabitants of Gibeon, took a very different approach.

They “acted with cunning” and went to Joshua and the leaders proactively dressed poorly carrying old stuff to make it look like they had traveled a great distance.  They came and told a story filled with lies about how they were sent by the Lord to serve them, and wanted to make a covenant to that effect.  They offered gifts and their people as servants to Joshua and God’s people.  Seemed pretty simple – folks walk up and want to be laborers.  “So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord”.  God has led them for decades, and now all of a sudden they don’t see the need to seek His direction any longer.  Big mistake.

A few days later after making a covenant they discover that these people didn’t come a long distance, but we from just down the road.  The leaders had been deceived and put a covenant in place with a people that they were to destroy.  And as is often the case, internal challenges begin.  “All the congregation murmured against the leaders”.  One of the joys of leadership is that if there are any issues, it quickly becomes the leaders fault.  Very little positive feedback when things go well, but immediate feedback when people don’t like what is happening.  It was a bad choice Joshua and his leadership team made.

But it wasn’t the end of the world.  Joshua calls them out and asks “why did you deceive us”.  Of course, their reasoning was sound as they knew what their fate was to be – destruction – “we feared greatly for our lives because of you and did this thing”.  So the leaders of God’s people were true to their covenant and spared these people of Gibeon, but “Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to this day, in the place that he should choose”.  They were servants and spent their lives working for the children of God.

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