Counsel (Joshua 9:14)

So the men [of Israel] took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the LORD.

Joshua 9:14

The Gibeonites are an interesting group. They live in the land of Canaan when Israel is taking possession of the Promised Land and decide to try making a treaty with Israel. They know, somehow, that Israel will not make treaties with the nations already in the land, so they pretend to be from a far off kingdom. Israel, in the verse that popped this morning, takes things at face value and makes the treaty, not stopping to ask the LORD for input on the matter.

Gibeon would become the next battlefield in taking the land. It is interesting to me that God used this treaty. A bunch of other kings heard about the treaty and came out to kill the Gibeonites and Joshua and Israel end up wiping those kings out. What’s more, the victory is one of the miraculous moments in Israel’s conquest, as Joshua asks God to make the day longer and the sun stops moving through the sky. Much later in Israel’s history, God would raise soldiers for David who would include a Gibeonite (1 Chronicles 12:4). Again, God would use the Gibeonites in helping to rebuild the temple (Nehemiah 3:7 and 7:25). This particular treaty would prove both beneficial and harmful to Israel throughout their history, but the people of Gibeon would not cause Israel to fall away from the LORD. This place of the Gibeonites in Israel’s history makes me wonder if seeking God’s counsel would have changed the outcome. I suspect it might have been much the same.

The people of Gibeon had heard of what God had done on the other side of the Jordan and then heard what had happened at Jericho and Ai and decided that they did not want to fight this God of Israel. They were afraid of God. Proverbs says that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. So these folks were beginning to be wise; beginning to believe. Had Israel asked for God’s input, it’s entirely possible that God would have told the nation to let the Gibeonites be proselytes. But, since Israel did not seek God’s counsel, we’ll never know.

I need to seek God’s counsel. It is possible that things that seem innocuous really are — like the Gibeonites, who never directly cause Israel any problems. It is also possible that there is something sinister lurking where I cannot see it, but God absolutely can. God’s counsel; God’s guidance is necessary if I intend to live a Godly life.

I also need to remember that God is able to work with my mistakes. I have a tendency to beat myself up over the things I’ve done wrong, but God is able to redeem even those things. Once I have confessed my wrong to God, I need to move forward and not flagellate myself with the wrong done. That said, I need to rely on God’s counsel, not on His ability to work despite me ignoring His input.

The past is past and I need to leave it there. Now, I need to seek the counsel of God.

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