In Chapter 9 of the Book of Joshua, the Gibeonites realize that the hand of God is with the Israelites and that God has given Israel the land of Canaan and the inhabitants of Canaan are doomed to be destroyed. So the Gibeonites send a group of men to represent them, dressed like they have journeyed from a far away land. Their clothes are old, shoes are worn, their bread is moldy. They tell Joshua, we have come from a far away land, please make a treaty with us and we will be your allies. Joshua and the leaders are moved emotionally, they assess the situation rationally, it seems to make sense and so we read in Joshua 9:14-15.
“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.”
THEY DID NOT CONSULT THE LORD!
I have had times in my life where I have done that very thing, I looked at a situation rationally and thinking it makes complete sense, or being moved emotionally, I make a decision without seeking the Lord and it turns out to be a big mistake.
In Chapter 10 Joshua and the leaders of Israel are now faced with a situation where they now have to defend their mistakes. The Amorite kings of Canaan decide to attack Gibeon for making a treaty with Israel. Joshua is called as an ally to defend Gibeon.
“The men of Gibeon quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal. “Don’t abandon your servants now!” they pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.” – Joshua 10:6
I wonder how often we find ourselves defending our mistakes. Joshua and the Children of Israel, didn’t seek the Lord about the Gibeonites, they made a decision based off emotion, and now they were having to defend it. Have you ever done that?
The amazing thing about this story is the way that God IN HIS GRACE intervenes to come along side of Joshua and the leaders of Israel in defending their mistake.
“Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.” – Joshua 10:8
The Lord graciously supplies Joshua and the army to take care of his mistake. This is so like the Lord. We can make a mess of things by not seeking him, there are always consequences to those decisions, but he doesn’t abandon us. The Lord’s purpose will be carried out. In this case a large contingency of allied forces would be destroyed in ONE BATTLE – rather than several battles.
“As the Amorites retreated down the road from Beth-horon, the Lord destroyed them with a terrible hailstorm from heaven that continued until they reached Azekah. The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.” – Joshua 10:11
Not only did God give Joshua and the army victory that day, but He intervened supernaturally to do more than what the army alone could do!
“And then Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said, “Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.” – Joshua 10:12-13
The Lord sends hail and then causes the sun to stand still and provide extra hours of day light for Joshua. All of this was to help Joshua defend his mistake and therefore, carry out the greater purpose of God, that Israel would occupy the land of Canaan.
This gives me great comfort in knowing that God is so for us, that even when we act hastily or we fail to seek Him, even though there are often consequences that come with those actions, He is faithful to carry out His purpose in our lives. He is faithful to graciously step in and supernaturally do what we were not able to do in the first place.Encouragment, Grace, Mistakes, Trials