Today’s One Year Bible reading includes a foreboding statement in Josh. 9:14: “… the Israelites … did not consult the Lord.” That tells us immediately that trouble lies ahead.

The Israelites thought they knew the situation. They’d been victorious over Jericho and Ai, and the nations around them took notice. And so one day a delegation of people claiming to be from a far-off land showed up at the Israelite camp wanting to make a peace treaty. Their story included language that would appeal to the Israelites: “We have heard of the might of the Lord your God and of all He did in Egypt … [and] to … King Sihon … and King Og.… Please make a treaty with us.”

The Israelites knew God had commanded them to conquer the land, so they couldn’t make a peace treaty with anyone from that area. But this delegation pointed to their worn-out sandals, ragged clothes, and dry, moldy bread as proof of their long journey from their distant homeland. Their story persuaded the Israelites to make a peace treaty with them.

The problem was, the Israelites didn’t check it out with God first. What they saw and heard was convincing—but it was all lies. The “far-off land” turned out to be the town of Gibeon, which was only a three days’ walk away from the Israelite camp. The peace treaty the Israelite leaders made with the Gibeonites was contrary to the commands God had give them. And the treaty later obligated Israel to fight to defend the Gibeonites from an attack by the combined armies of five other towns.

However, God used that attack against Gibeon as part of His plan for the Israelites to conquer the land. God can take our mistakes and incorporate them into His plan for our lives. That doesn’t excuse our errors or eliminate the consequences, but it is reassuring to remember that God is still sovereign, and works all things together for our good and His glory. (See Romans 8:28.)

And it’s always a good idea to check with God first, before making decisions! He knows more than we do!

by Darrel Eppler, Chairman of the Elder Board

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