Saturday, March 7, 2009

Failure to consult...

Imagine being aware that your country was about to be overthrown and the liklihood of your survival was grim. That's exactly where the people of Gibeon found themselves after learning of Israel's victories in Jericho and Ai and realizing that they could be next in line. Joshua chapter 9 records the details of Israel's encounter with the Gibeonites, and these details are compelling.

The Bible explains that when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to deception to save themselves. What they did actually turned out to be clever because of the eventual outcome. They sent ambassadors to Joshua claiming that they came from a very distant land and asking that Israel enter a peace treaty with them. They offered "proof" that they lived far away by showing moldy bread (supposedly the bread had become stale and moldy as a result of the length of their journey). In addition, they had ragged clothes and sandals, as well as old wineskins.

What happened next is a lesson for us today. Here's what scripture records in verses 14 and 15:

So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord. Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath.

I am amazed but not surprised to read that they were deceived when they did not consult the Lord. I do not consider myself to be very shrewd and I have been deceived in the past because generally, I'm a very trusting person. But just like the nation of Israel, the option to consult God has always been available to me, so why wouldn't I?

Hopefully, this story will serve to remind me that our personal intellect and individual judgment is not infallible--but we serve a God who knows all things. My prayer is that when faced with any important decisions or choices, I will always consult The Lord so that I do not make treaties, agreements, pacts, or promises that could limit or inhibit God's perfect plan from being carried out in my life.

Lord, help me remember that your understanding is limitless and that I'll always benefit by first consulting you when there are decisions to make. Thank you for your faithfulness to be a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Amen.

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