The men of Israel looked them over and accepted the evidence.
But they didn’t ask God about it.
Joshua 9:14 (Msg)
Go Deep: “But they didn’t ask God.” No matter how overwhelming the evidence, no matter how good it seems, no matter how much something makes sense, we dishonor God when we don’t go to him and ask. Leaving God out of the picture is a tried and true recipe for, at the very least, putting distance between God and us, and at worst, for disaster.
Frankly, a failure to ask is the very essence of sin. It was the chief strategy Satan used on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when he seduced them into sinning. What if the original couple has simply come to God and asked for his thoughts on the tempter’s enticement? Obviously, simply asking first would have saved them, and the rest of us, the untold pain and misery that has haunted the human race ever since.
In this case, Joshua and the leaders of Israel made a hasty decision about the Gibeonites. They should have destroyed them according to God’s decree, but they were deceived into thinking the men from Gibeon were not a part of the Canaanite city-states devoted to destruction. Had Joshua, who otherwise was a great and godly leader, simply asked God for his wisdom, both he and Israel’s leaders would have been spared the embarrassment of this disobedience.
Interestingly, Joshua honored his treaty with the Gibeonites even after discovering it had been made under false pretenses. By all rights, he could have broken the vow and destroyed Gibeon, but their submissive posture and willingness to take on the faith of the Israelite community spared them from destruction. Joshua observed what King David later wrote about in Psalm 15:1-4,
“Who may dwell in your sanctuary, Lord? …He who keeps his oath, even when it hurts.” (Psalm 15:1,4)
The point is, however, that painful oaths and other’s needless suffering could be eliminated by one simple act of trust and obedience on our part: Coming to God on a day by day, perhaps moment by moment basis, and asking: “Father, what is your will concerning this matter? How can I advance your kingdom through this decision? Will this circumstance bring you glory or will it cause you dishonor?”
How about staying in a constant conversation with God today—and invite his input in every decision you make. Just do this: Pray—then obey! And that, my friend, is the recipe for blessing.
Just Saying… D.L. Moody observed, “Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.” So make sure you ask God to reveal his will to you in things great and small. “Asking,” as Spurgeon said, “is the rule of the kingdom.”