December 30, 2022 – Friday
Joshua 9:23 NIV
23 You are now under a curse: You will never be released from service as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.
This is a fascinating story. In the verse above Joshua is speaking to Gibeonites about a deception they pulled off against the Israelites. All kinds of peoples were being led to war against the Israelites, but the people of Gibeon had heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, so they resorted to a ruse.
You need to go back to Joshua 6 to read about the destruction of Jericho and how its walls collapsed. These were walls wide enough to hold chariot races, yet they fell as the Lord said they would. There were many items in Jericho that were to be devoted to the Lord, but someone stole some of the items for himself and his family.
Thus, in chapter 7 when Israel went to attack Ai they were repelled easily. Joshua was down on his face in prayer when the Lord told him why they had lost; 10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. After the thief was discovered and admitted what he had done, all the items were found, he was stoned to death and all he had was burned.
As a result the Lord gave Ai over to Joshua and his army and we read in chapter 8, 3 So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night 4 with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. 5 I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. 6 They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are running away from us as they did before.’ So when we flee from them, 7 you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hand. 8 When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.”
The above is what the Gibeonites were aware of when they went to deceive Joshua in chapter 9, 3 However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. 5 They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. 6 Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.” It took a while, but they finally convinced Joshua they were from a far land and without consulting the Lord, 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.
Only three days later the deception was discovered. Because they had made an oath by the Lord the leaders said, 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.” 21 They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept. Joshua summoned the Gibeonite leaders 22 and said, “Why did you deceive us by saying, ‘We live a long way from you,’ while actually you live near us? 23 You are now under a curse: You will never be released from service as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”
They told the truth in answering Joshua, 24 “Your servants were clearly told how the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. 25 We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you.” They were not killed and were made water carriers and wood cutters for the assembly and for the alter of God.
Bottom Line: Today we do not have to resort to deception to save ourselves, we can truly believe Jesus died for our sins and rose on the third day while repenting and turning from our sins.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Just as You gave the Gibeonites a way out, You have done the same for us, through Your Son for which we are eternally grateful. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton