2 Corinthians 2:11 – “…lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” NKJV
Joshua 9:3-4a – “But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors.” NKJV
We have considered the reality that our victories invite a counter-attack by the forces of hell but we dare not stop there. Next, I would like us to note that before the full frontal assault of the enemy, the inhabitants of the land in Joshua 9 attempted to deceive Israel into making a pact with them. Cohabitation with and a Non-Aggression pact, with the devil, is impossible. He is not a covenant keeper and wants your destruction.
The Gibeonites knew that the overall picture was pretty dark for them and decided that rather than risk an attack that would likely end in defeat they would try deception. They arrived on the scene from Gilgal and pretended to be from a very distant land, a land unknown to Joshua and Israel. They came with all the visible signs of having been on a long journey. They were skillfully crafty, mentioning nothing of Jericho or Ai but talked about the Wilderness. They also claimed to honor and respect the God of Israel.
If you can receive it, this exposes the devil’s tactics. He knows, too well, that a believer who is totally committed to Christ will not be tempted or dissuaded by a frontal attack. He knows that the child of God who is determined to press on and press into God’s Promise will not be stopped by an all-out assault so what does he do?
- He suggests possible alliances that seem small and insignificant.
- He talks to us about a certain area of our lives over which Jesus has given no specific command, a part so small and seemingly insignificant that it really won’t matter.
- He challenges the need for total consecration in everything, after all, we are all human.
- He warns us that overdoing it religiously and spiritually will result in being too heavenly minded to be any earthly good and will cause burnout.
- He cautions us about becoming too narrow suggesting that we need to be more open to differing beliefs.
- He suggests that there is no reason we should not indulge and even become a bit lazy occasionally for after all even Jesus drew aside to rest and relax.
The enemy wants to steal our affection and move us away from our first love. He wants to get us to lower our Christian standards and compromise our convictions even if it is occasional. He comes and suggests that what the church really needs is a common sense approach and that we are in danger of being too radical in our faith and thereby turning people off. He is often difficult to detect and he offers help but his objective is to shipwreck your life. No wonder John warned us in 1 John 4:1 to “…try the spirits, whether they are of God…”
In this account we find Israel, for the first time, seeking to co-mingle with the enemy on Holy Ground. They were doing what God told them not to do. They were violating the principle of “coming out from among them and being separate spiritually”. The Gibeonites crept in! The found the door of gullibility and walked through. Sheep, in the natural, are among the dumbest creatures in existence. In verse 14 we read, “…they did not ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord…” Big mistake! Every alliance must be seasoned in prayer. That is why I refuse to make decisions without first taking them to prayer. If a deal is so good that I have to decide immediately and not given time to pray I pass. The Bible tells us, “…there is a way that seems right to man but the ends are the ways of death.” Gullibility will result in deception and place us in disobedience.
The Bible declares that the devil comes as an “angel of light” and is not always easily detected. Remember the foolish virgins resembled the wise, the tares resembled the wheat, the voice of the hireling sounds much like the shepherd and the wayward meadow is laid out beside the king’s highway and only a soft shoulder separates them. Does a small concession and pact matter? The record gives a clear answer – YES!
Are we to attempt to match the devil in his subtle ways? NO! Do not trust your judgment, intellect or perceived spirituality. Take the matter, every matter to God in prayer and if after prayer you are still in doubt – DON’T! Be strong enough and brave enough to stand still and wait for the Lord for none that wait on Him are ashamed and that is the only way to outmatch and outmaneuver the devil.
If you have failed it is not over! All is not lost! The devil would have you believe so but that is a Lie from the Pit. Joshua and Israel once realizing their error placed the Gibeonites in a position of menial laborers and subjects. God took the scheme of the devil and turned it against the deceivers. Let your mistakes drive you to the altar and allow the Spirit of God to administer forgiveness, healing, deliverance, and restoration. God wants to warn you, wash you and welcome you!
May God be with you as you go through this day!