Posts Tagged ‘satan’s subtle deceptions’

Joshua 9:1-27

The Gibeonites Deceive Israel

How often does Satan try to deceive us? Every day. He wants us to be gotten off track and create a stumbling block in our testimony. He is the great deceiver. He will attack us in whatever our weak point is and create a wedge in our relationship with God. Sometimes these deceptions are subtle and when we least expect them. Sure, the blatant things are easy enough to avoid as a Christ follower. We know that murder is wrong and we simply avoid getting that angry. We know that prostitution is wrong so we avoid participating in that. We know the big things that are wrong and we avoid those things like the plague. It the subtle nuances of Satan that often bring us down. We listen that this might be OK because…well…you know…it’s not so wrong.

 

If we have a problem with pride, Satan will deceive us there. Often you see Satan attack mature Christians in this way. You don’t need to do what the leadership at church says because…well…you know…we know better than the preacher. We don’t have to tithe because we have served the Lord so well over the years!  We don’t have to do a book study because that stuff is for less mature Christians. We don’t have to attend this mandatory class because, hey, we have been believers for a long time so we don’t need it. We already know this stuff. I don’t need to study the Bible, I have read through it from front to back more times that I want to count. I don’t need advice from other Christians about my behavior. They are less mature than me.

 

If you have a problem with the love of sexual attraction and arousal, that is where Satan will try to deceive you. Looking at pornography is OK because you are not actually, physically cheating on your spouse. Nobody will know. It’s ok for you because you are such a good Christian in other areas. It is OK to be alone with that girl or guy you find attractive because you have the spiritual willpower to withstand the urges of the body. It’s OK to talk to that girl in the bikini at the pool or at the beach just so you can get a closer look at her body. It’s OK to flirt with that guy whose married. It’s all just innocent fun and it’s not crossing the line into adultery. Satan will tell you that it’s OK to still if you still got it going on…after being married for as long as you have. It’s OK to test the waters every now and then just to make sure you are still verile as a man or attractive as a woman.

 

If you have a problem with jealousy, that is where Satan will deceive you. He will make you think that you are not good enough. He will make you think that you loved ones are deceiving you when they really aren’t. He will make you want what others have. He will make you not appreciate what you have and make you want this fantasy life that you have made up in your mind. He will make you make stupid mistakes because of jealousies that you will have to pay for the rest of your life. He will make you want a lifestyle that you cannot afford because of jealousies. How many of us have been deceived by Satan’s siren call in this area? Just because I make $50k a year less than Guy X, you can still have his lifestyle, says Satan. Get those credits cards and max ‘em out. Get that mortgage you can’t afford and the cars that you can’t afford. It’s all OK. Why fully pay for anything when can keep trading up your debt (trading smaller debts for bigger ones)? How many of us are stuck in this deception from Satan?

 

Each and every one of us has a sin weak spot and that is where Satan will deceive us. This one time is OK is Satan’s most famous deceptive lie. No one will know. He will make you think that you can withstand your sin weak spot by helping you rationalize why this time will be different and because you are more mature now than the last time you made that mistake. Why does Satan do this?

 

He wants us to have a blockage in our relationship with God. He wants to keep us from fulfilling our full potential with what God has planned for us. He wants us to get off-track. He wants there to be a blemish on our witness that discredits us with non-believers. He wants us to sink into a mire of sin so that we are no longer effective in spreading the gospel. He wants to create division within God’s church so that it will start finding within. When the church is fighting within itself, we are no longer effective in taking back this earth from Satan.

 

How do we avoid the subtle deceptions of Satan? We must constantly seek God in prayer. We must seek God in His Word. We must seek God through the counsel of other more wise Christians. These were the things that I thought of this morning as I read through the deception of Israel in Joshua 9. Why do we keep making the same mistakes again and again? Joshua did not consult God AGAIN and now Israel is going to have this awkward alliance with the Gibeonites for generations to come. Let’s read about it now:

 

9 Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things—the kings in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)— 2 they came together to wage war against Joshua and Israel.

 

3 However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded[a] with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. 5 They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. 6 Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”

 

7 The Israelites said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?”

 

8 “We are your servants,” they said to Joshua.

 

But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

 

9 They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”

 

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

 

16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the Lord, the God of Israel.

 

The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the Lord, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.” 21 They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.

 

22 Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you deceive us by saying, ‘We live a long way from you,’ while actually you live near us? 23 You are now under a curse: You will never be released from service as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”

 

24 They answered Joshua, “Your servants were clearly told how the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. 25 We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you.”

 

26 So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them. 27 That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the assembly, to provide for the needs of the altar of the Lord at the place the Lord would choose. And that is what they are to this day.

 

In this passage, we see that, as the news spread about their victory, the Israelites experienced opposition in two forms. There was the direct opposition of the kings in the area that began to unite against them. There was also the indirect kind of the Gibeonites who resorted to deception. We can expect similar opposition as we obey God’s commands. To guard against these pressures, we must rely on God and communicate daily with Him through prayer. He will give us strength to endure direct and indirect pressures and wisdom to see through deception.

 

When the leaders sampled these men’s provisions, they that their provisions appeared old and worn out from a long journey. However, they could not see that they were being deceived. After the promise had been made, the truth came out that they had been deceived. God had specifically instructed Israel to make no treaties with the inhabitants of the Promised Land (See Exodus 23:32, 34:12; Numbers 33:55; Deuteronomy 7:2, 20:17-18). As a strategist, Joshua knew enough to seek God’s will in prayer before leading his troops into battle, but the peace treaty seemed innocent enough. They thought they could make the decision without consulting God. By failing to seek God’s guidance and rushing ahead with their own plans, they had to deal now with an awkward alliance and angry people who were second-guessing their decision. Once again, Israel’s leaders had forgotten to go to God. How often do we do the same? A new situation arises and we forget to seek God’s guidance and wisdom. The leaders of Israel made a mistake. Since they made a treaty and an oath to protect the Gibeonites, they would have to keep their word. The oath was not nullified by the Gibeonites’ trickery. God has commanded that oaths be kept (Leviticus 5:4; 27:2, 28).

 

What is your weak spot? Where is it that you think you do not need wise counsel? Where is that you think “you got this”? Where is that you think you have got it all under control and do not need discernment from God? Where is that we do not go to God in prayer? What is that pet sin of yours and mine that we are blind to and think we got this under control so we do not seek God in that area of life?

 

We must seek God in every area of our lives … especially those areas that we think we got it all covered. We must seek God in every area of our lives … especially in those areas that our blind spots. We must seek God daily. We must have a robust prayer life where we would not consider making any decision large or small without seeking God’s guidance and grace. We must be in God’s Word constantly so that we can be convicted by His Word. We must seek wise counsel of other more mature Christians. We must come under the leadership and preaching of the pastor that God has placed us under. We must be aware of how Satan will try to deceive in our weak spots. We must be ever vigilant against his subtle attacks and how those attacks will try to twist Scripture and twist the very nature of God.

 

Be aware of the subtle deceptions of Satan. When we are aware that he will try to deceive us through subtle means more often than the big bright lights kind of ways then we are on the start to recognizing our need for the daily guidance of the Lord through His Word, through prayer, through preaching, through leadership of others, through accountability and so on.

 

Amen and Amen.