Last week in my Bible reading I came across some very familiar passages in Joshua, such as the battle at Jericho and the sin of Achan. Chapter 9 however held an account that I don't ever remember learning. God was leading the Israelites in conquering all these lands, and somewhere along the way the Gibeonites heard what was happening and that God was delivering all these cities into the hands of the Israelites and they were all being wiped out. So they devised this plan to make it look like they had traveled from very far away so that Israel wouldn't suspect they were in one of the nearby lands that they were supposed to attack. The people of Gibeon put on really old clothes, took moldy bread, torn and patched wineskins, and wore old worn sandals. Then, they went to the men of Israel saying they've been traveling for a very long time and asked for Israel to make a contract with them to allow them to be their servants and spare their lives.
Verse 14 is what stands out to me the most. It shows the downfall of the choice made by the Israelites in this instance and it is something I know I'm guilty of all too often. It says, "Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord." WOW - After everything they had been through and being given the promised land and conquering all these cities, they didn't seek God's counsel!
So what happens next? They make the contract with the Gibeonites assuming they were telling the truth!! So after 3 days goes by they find out that these were actually the people of Gibeon who were part of this land that God was having them anhialate!! So now they're stuck in this covenant with the Gibeonites and have to allow them to live among them as their servants (water carriers and woodcutters). When asked why they lied, the Gibeonites say they were afraid for their lives because they heard that God had said He would give the Israelites all the land and that they would destroy all the inhabitants of the land. I find it funny, and incredibly saddened that the Gibeonites obviously believed in the mighty power of God, yet Israel forgot to ask counsel of the Lord. I wonder how that affected God's original plan for the Israelites. I wonder what kind of future problems there were because the men of Israel didn't ask consel of the Lord or what kind of blessings they missed out on. I wonder what kind of blessings we miss out on because we simply do not ask counsel of the Lord.