3 But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, 5 old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. 6 And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.”
7 Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you dwell among us; so how can we make a covenant with you?”
8 But they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.”
And Joshua said to them, “Who are you, and where do you come from?”
9 So they said to him: “From a very far country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God; for we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt, 10 and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan—to Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth. 11 Therefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, ‘Take provisions with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say to them, “We are your servants; now therefore, make a covenant with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours we took hot for our provision from our houses on the day we departed to come to you. But now look, it is dry and moldy. 13 And these wineskins which we filled were new, and see, they are torn; and these our garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long journey.”
14 Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. 15 So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.
16 And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. 17 Then the children of Israel journeyed and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath Jearim. 18 But the children of Israel did not attack them, because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation complained against the rulers. Joshua 9:3-18
It is amazing how the enemy will often try to deceive us after a great victory. Most times after a great victory our defenses are down. We are feeling pretty good and it causes us to make reckless decisions.
In this account the nation of Israel is moving under the leadership of Joshua. They have just taken the two cities of Jericho and Ai. They are now moving deeper into the promise land and the nation of Gibeon understands how powerful the nation of Israel is.
Even though they have come out of slavery under Egypt and have come out of the wilderness, the surrounding nations were well aware of the power of Israel’s God. The Lord God had freed Israel and left Egypt in the dust, and every nation that raised itself up against Israel found itself in defeat.
But the mistake made by Israel and its leadership is they made a decision without seeking the counsel of the Lord. The Gibeonites understood that if they didn’t make a treaty with Israel that they would be wiped out. They deceived Israel into thinking they were from a far away nation and because of this Israel made a treaty with them.
But the truth came out when they actually came upon this nation and were not able to touch them. Because of the treaty made it had to be honored by the nation of Israel. It would do us well to always seek the counsel of the Lord. This takes place in the place of prayer and the reason many churches and ministries struggle is that corporate prayer is not a priority of the church.
They are more concerned with entertainment and programs. Whey you have sometimes is a church that seems thriving but is actually spiritual dead. Prayer must be the priority because it is through prayer that the power of God’s kingdom is released into our midst. Let us learn from the mistakes of those who have come before us and from the truth of God’s word. Those who fail to study history will surely repeat it. It is vital that we study the Old Testament and especially the history of Israel. There are many important spiritual principles we can learn.