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Blog - Foreseeing the Evil and Hiding Yourself

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During Israel's conquest into the land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua, after having seen Israel destroy the cities of Jericho and Ai (Joshua 6 & 8), the kings of the surrounding lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and the Jebusites "gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord" (Jos 9:1-2). Can you imagine that?...united nations against the church of God! If you think for a minute that the purpose of nations uniting is for world peace, think again.

God has determined the bounds of the habitations of the nations and He wants them DIVIDED, not united, so that they can seek Him (Act 17:26-27). What happened in Joshua's time was just a preview of things to come thousands of years later when the devil would be loosed to set up his united nations against the church when he "shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city:..." (Rev 20:8-9a). Thankfully Satan's united nations will have about the same level of success against the church as the nations who united against Israel in Joshua's day, "...and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them" (Rev 20:9b).

Getting back to Joshua...another city in the area called Gibeon also heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai (Jos 9:3) and some of them devised a different strategy than the nations around them. Instead of making war with Israel, which they knew was a lost cause because they had been told that the LORD God had given Israel all the land and commanded them to destroy all the inhabitants of the land, and they therefore feared for their lives (Jos 9:24), they instead decided to work wilily (craftlily, cunningly, by stratagem) and trick Israel into making a league with them (Jos 9:4). So they dressed themselves up in old worn out cloths and took with them torn wine bottles and moldy bread and made up a story that they were ambassadors from a far country who had traveled a long distance because they had heard of the fame of the God of Israel and what He did in Egypt and to the kings of the Amorites, and therefore they wanted to make a league with Israel and be their servants (Jos 9:4-13). Well, Joshua believed their story and took the food that they had brought and made a league with them (Jos 9:14-15), but he forgot something that was key: he "asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD" (Jos 9:14).

We read in the book of Proverbs that "Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established" (Pro 15:22), and "Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth" (Pro 19:2). It only took three days for Joshua to find out that they were their neighbors, but at that point it was too late to terminate the league they had made because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them (Jos 9:15). Israel spared them because of the oath they had taken before God, which caused some grumbling in the congregation, but the princes explained to the people that they had sworn to them by the LORD God of Israel and therefore they would not touch them (Jos 9:18-19).

By this action, the princes of Israel were displaying the characteristics of the godly, of whom the scripture says, "He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not" (Psa 15:4b). They were heeding the warning of Solomon who warned about vowing a vow and then not paying when he wrote many years later, "When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay" (Ecc 5:4-5). Israel kept their vow and let the Gibeonites live, but they made them hewers or wood and drawers of water for all the congregation (Jos 9:21). The Gibeonites had saved their hinder parts.

The Gibeonites were "children of this world" who were "in their generation wiser than the children of light" (Luk 16:8), and they had taken Jesus Christ's sage advice to "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations" (Luk 16:9). We should take note of their wit and wisdom in saving their own lives through somewhat crafty means by employing the proverb that they didn't even know, "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished" (Pro 22:3).

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