Listening to Lies
We expect certain people to lie. When we see a politician’s commercial, we probably suspect that he or she isn’t being precisely accurate. When we’re buying an automobile or an appliance, how many of us believe every word the salesperson tells us? Maybe we judge too harshly, but most of us expect to be deceived from time to time.
Joshua and the Israelites should have expected some deception when they entered the Promised Land, but they bought a lie hook, line, and sinker. As Joshua and the people of Israel entered Canaan, God allowed them to make easy work of capturing the land; the kings who were left became more than a little nervous. “Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the LORD had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites” (Josh 5:1).
Some of the kings decided to wage war against the Israelites (Josh 9:1-2). But the Gibeonites were “too smart” for battle; instead, they came up with a ruse to make a treaty with Joshua and his army. They sent men from Gibeon who deceptively looked as though they had just arrived from a long journey (Josh 9:3-6). After a conversation with the ambassadors from Gibeon, “Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath” (Josh 9:15). God had warned his people not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land (e.g., Ex 23:32).
How could such a great military commander who sought to be faithful to God make such a colossal blunder? “The Israelites . . . did not inquire of the LORD” (Josh 9:14). The people relied on their own wisdom instead of the wisdom which comes from above.
We need to “inquire of the LORD.” Today, you and I inquire of him through Scripture, of course: Holy writ “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). Do you want to be able to discern truth from lies? Ask God for help, and he’ll give it: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (Js 1:5).
God may not help me see the beyond the lies someone tells me, but he will help me see right through the lies Satan tells. Those are the lies which hurt me. Because the Israelites failed to inquire of the Lord, they sinned. We dare not make the same mistake.