As you know if you’ve been reading this blog for the past few weeks, I am (too) slowly reading Joshua. I’ve been trying to read a chapter a day, but as per usual, life is getting in the way.
And by “life”, I mean having messed up priorities and a misplaced focus.
Anyway, as God does in His faithfulness, today He has used my slacker-ness and turned it around on me. Despite the fact that I haven’t read Joshua since Thursday and should be on chapter 13 at this point, He used chapter 9 to challenge me & bless my socks off.
Take a minute and soak in just how good God is to us. So patient, so loving.
Anyway, in my reading today, the Israelites are in the process of claiming the Promised Land as their own. They defeated Ai in the 2nd battle, after Ai originally defeated them due to Achan’s sin. After this victory, Joshua takes the time to remind the Israelites of the blessings & curses spelled out in the book of instruction, as well as every word of every command.
Joshua was following through with God’s earlier instructions for success:
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
Joshua consulted the Lord in all he did. Until he didn’t.
The Gibeonites had heard what the Israelites had done to Ai & Jericho, and verse 4 says “they resorted to deception to save themselves.”
They disguised themselves so it appeared they had been on a long journey. When they came and requested for a treaty, Joshua asked, “How do we know you don’t live nearby? For if you do, we cannot make a treaty with you.” When they replied, “we are your servants,” Joshua demanded, “But who are you? Where do you come from?”
The Gibeonites said they had come from a very distant country. They had heard of the Israelites’ God and of all He did in Egypt, at the Jordan, and Jericho & Ai. “This bread was hot from the ovens when we left our homes. But now, as you can see, it is dry and moldy. These wineskins were new when we filled them, but now they are old and split open. And our clothing and sandals are worn out from our very long journey.”
Here is how Joshua responded: “So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord.”
You can likely guess how this ends. Joshua makes a treaty with the Gibeonites, thinking they live far away, only to find out they live in the Promised Land. Joshua keeps his word and upholds the treaty, but loses part of the Promised Land.
The weight of this hit me.
Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”
Am I missing out on God’s promises and His blessings because I forget to stop & ask God to inform my decisions?
Do I say “yes” to opportunities that appear to have God-glorifying potential because it seems like a good thing to do?
Or do I ask for God’s input every time I prepare to take a step in any direction?
Lord, forgive me for often acting without asking. Help me to remember You in every step, even every small move I make. Let the weight of “Apart from me you can do nothing” convict me and inform my every decision. You are good.