Jos 9:14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but
did not inquire of the LORD.
Here we find our hero walking in humility. The fear of the Lord has spread throughout the land. Adversaries have been made aware there is little time left for them to rule in their land, because the people of God, led by Joshua, will soon grace their presence. To avoid a graceful exit from their territories, the leaders of these lands come together to hatch a plan to defeat Joshua through deception.
They decide to use Joshua’s moral standard and commitment to righteousness against him. The word around town was that Joshua was loyal and honored his covenant agreements. They knew their only chance at survival was to come into covenant agreement with Joshua so they hatched plan “JJ (Join Joshua).
If You can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em!
Sadly, the enemy decided to use some of Joshua’s best characteristics.
Joshua was Loyal!
The enemy knew that Joshua was loyal. Watching Joshua serve Moses, they learned how Joshua valued relationships. They knew that Joshua’s word mirrored the example set by Moses and Yahweh. He would honor them, not in fear of the adversary, but in fear of the Lord.
The Adversary is aware of both your
Strengths and your Weaknesses
While we assume that the enemy is constantly setting traps for our weaknesses, we must acknowledge that a play can be made to use our strengths against us. A strength is an area where we have confidence and control, but with a little pizazz and deception, it can be used to hinder our best efforts.
Joshua thought he was Fortifying
Joshua, riding high from victories is not shocked that countries would want to form covenants with him, thus the suggestion of an agreement is not shocking to him. He is pleased that the word of his victories with God has established him among rulers nationally, not just locally, and is willing to agree with those are away from him. Coming into agreement with distant surrounding rulers would offer him protection, support and awareness of any approaching from other kingdoms.
Joshua was Willing to Show Mercy
Joshua was filled with mercy. Even as a valiant warrior, Joshua understood that area could be conquered by more ways than violence. As opposed to the shedding of blood, Joshua could build relationships with other countries and provinces that would be a resource and also insure his people could live in the prosperous land in peace, and prosper without mass destruction or destructive efforts.
Joshua was Honest
Honest to a fault, one might think after reading this story. That which gave him credibility with Yahweh, Moses and the people would be one of the characteristics they preyed upon. Joshua took them at their word as though he was speaking himself. Joshua took them at their word, and looked past a situation that seemed to be suspect.
The situation was so awkward, that the counsel of wisdom that stood with Joshua called out the Hivites upon what appeared to be deception. Verse 7 “and the men of Israel said to the Hivites, ‘Perhaps you are living within our land…”, which was true. They were trying to avoid battle and destruction! They stayed in character and spoke directly to Joshua and insured him that they were “your servants”.
Joshua ignored Wise Counsel
Joshua had his men with him for protection and for counsel. They spoke up in the meeting, but Joshua fail to some blatant ego stroking! With emphasis on the “your” and season on the “servant”, Joshua was content to receive them as a non threat. His ego seems to make him bypass wise counsel and forge forward into the trap set for him by the enemy!
Joshua didn’t Ignore the Lord,
He didn’t Seek the Lord!
Whew; Jacob is still in tact! He ignored man, but didn’t ignore God. Praise God!!! This is how many of us think! Joshua didn’t consider that the Lord was speaking to him through the men that God appointed to serve him, and often neither do we! People, God is speaking! But Joshua didn’t hear the voice or counsel from the Lord in those who were appointed to him. He instead listens to those appealing to him and thus looses the power of the counsel of those who have been loyal to him.
How many us us have been like this? God sends a word from the wind. Then another word from the songs. A mighty gust from our studies. A gentle breeze from our time in prayer. A nudge from our friends and a push from our family. Yet we ignore all the thing and people God is using to guide us and fall prey to our ego or personal desires. The signs are there for us to follow, but we are no longer interested in following directions, but have decided to cut our own path.
You can be defeated by entering the wrong covenant!
Though Joshua was not physically defeated by them, he was intellectually defeated by them. They used their wit and their cunning to protect their land and their people, and did not have to suffer any casualties in the process. They used deception, but showed Joshua a different and effective strategy as a leader. Many battles can be avoided with intellect and strategy. While most of us are still waiting for the devil to jump out with a pitchfork and horns, many don’t realize he was the pretty profile picture whos words showered you with complements and and encouraged your endeavors. Yes, that person or thing can be used by the adversary to approach from a different angle to get you to fall into sin.
Who are you consulting for covenant?
Joshua consulted God about going to war, but didn’t seek God’s counsel about who he entered covenant with. We too do the same. What we must know is that Joshua was in Covenant with Yahweh, and now he has entered a new covenant with his enemy. Joshua has been given the land, and now his covenant with the enemy will hinder the full expanse of what God had given him.
How many of us have done the same? Joshua has literally placed handcuff on himself. He will not be restricted by God’s hand, but will be hampered by his own words! How has your word stopped or impeded your progress? Because of this, we have to be careful about the relationships we enter into.
“Take your time young man”, singer Junior said in “Mama used to Say”. I’m sure Moses, if alive, would have articulated this same truth to Joshua.
What a challenge leadership is. It’s multifaceted. And while one man or woman might sit in the leadership seat, we must be aware that they aren’t sitting or standing alone. They have the appointment of God, the counsel of those serving with them, and the responsibility and relationship with those they lead.
My concern as I look over the landscape of our land is that we have too many covenants formed for collusion and not for righteousness. We have leaders who have partaken of the fruit and have made agreements to carry out one agenda without considering what will accompany the covenant. God honoring people have been made corrupt, but finding themselves in collusion with those whose desire is to maintain power by finding shelter in the arms of a God they don’t believe in. The reality is, the only thing protecting them from being consumed is our word! We have leaders that have entered relationships and find themselves in agreement with those who have united with us for the protection of our God and to have the ear of our leadership. It’s these relationships that prove to be fatal in many instances, and harmful in others.
Thankfully, Joshua is made aware of the deception, and honors his word not to destroy them, but recognizes they are not partners and worshipers of Yahweh and makes them servants in the land as opposed to partners. Their plan was to use him, but Joshua repositions things to benefit the Kingdom! Though Joshua ignored the initial signs, he acknowledged the current signs and is able to help Israel avoid catastrophe.