Being Trustworthy in the Face of Treachery

If you were deceived into agreeing to do something, would you feel obligated to do it after finding out you had been deceived? That’s the question we explored last Sunday night, and one I think we all need to consider.

I’m pretty sure that if we signed a contract that proved to have been made under false pretense, most of us would feel justified in breaking the contract. That’s why the events recorded in Joshua 9 & 10 are so shocking. Let me recap them briefly for you.

God had ordered the Israelites to completely wipe out the inhabitants of Canaan, and after doing so in Jericho and Ai, the residents of Gibeon came up with a scheme to trick the Israelites into letting them live. They pretended to be from a distant land, and deceived Joshua into making a covenant with them. When it was discovered what they had done, some in Israel sought to do what God had told them to do, but Joshua and the leaders wouldn’t let them. They had given their word, and had sworn by the Lord, so they agreed to the terms of the covenant. The Gibeonites were allowed to continue living in the land, and became servants to the Israelites.

When five Canaanite kings heard what the Gibeonites had done, they assembled to attack them. They, in turn, appealed to Joshua, and rather than look the other way and assume God was going to do to them what he couldn’t do because of the deceptive covenant, he agreed to protect them. And God confirmed that He too wanted the covenant upheld. He killed more of the Canaanites with giant hailstones than the soldiers of Israel killed with the sword. And He made the sun stand still so they could finish the job!

Then, according to II Samuel 21, God brought judgment on Israel because King Saul had tried to wipe out the Gibeonites who lived in the land, four hundred years after the covenant had been made!

In a faithless world where everyone seems to be looking for loopholes, we must never forget that our word is a reflection of God’s faithfulness toward us.

God Bless, Rick

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