My post today comes to you again from our study on Joshua (sign up for our FREE ONLINE class).
I know people who are easily swayed by the sweet talker, the charmer, the manipulator. He/she knows exactly what to say to get the person they’re trying to dupe to give them what they want. These people are dishonest and deceitful. Some people are so trusting that they’ll believe anyone that says and does the right thing. Cheaters are not just in movies, but they are living among us. They’re in the church. They use peoples’ weaknesses to gain control. Now listen to me carefully: Christians can easily get victimized just because someone mentions God. I know a group of Christians who lost their life savings because they trusted in a fellow church member’s investment. He took their money and ran.
You would think that Joshua would not be so easily fooled. But right in the beginning of conquering the land, he was duped. In fact, we can see Satan all over this story, so it’s vital we pay attention. Whether you are skeptical or trusting, the lesson before us today is for everyone. Everyone needs to learn how to protect themselves from being deceived and defrauded.
As things were getting underway and Joshua was successful at conquering some of the land, he was tricked. Read it for yourself in Joshua 9:1-27. The Gibeonites knew they were next on Israel’s hit list, so to save their own necks, they came to Joshua and lied about where they came from and who they were. Joshua believed them and made a treaty with them, saving them from destruction.
As the Gibeonites presented themselves to Joshua and the leaders of Israel, we see two opposing sides: the evil (Satan) side, and the good (the representatives of God) side. This story surely reveals how easy it is for the representatives of God to be deceived. There are three crucial things we learn about Satan in this story:
Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14)!
I believe there are many people in our churches in disguises. Joshua and the leaders didn’t recognize the façade of the Gibeonites because these deceivers took great measures to put on old tattered clothes and carry worn-out wineskins. They looked authentic – like they were who they claimed to be. Warren Wiersbe said, “It’s much easier for us to identity the lion when he’s roaring than to detect the serpent when he’s slithering into our lives.”
Satan lies (John 8:44)!
Satan isn’t just a liar, he is the father of lies (John 8:44). The Gibeonites looked Joshua right the eyes and lied to him. You and I know what that feels like. We feel violated, taken advantage of. The church is full of hypocrites and they’re getting more and more prevalent the closer we get to Jesus’ return.
The Gibeonites pretended like they came because of God. Christians can easily get fooled by imposters. Some of them just say the name of God. This is one of Satan’s favorite tactics to get to us. He boldly quoted Scripture to Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). We need to test what people say – examine it by Scripture.
Our Bible study examines each of these deceptive practices of the devil further, but for time constraints, I’ll finish today with one last vital thing we learn.
We may ask, “Why did Joshua and the leaders not recognize their deception? Why did they sign a treaty with them, when they were clearly warned not to (Exodus 34:12)? The answer is right in this verse, “They did not inquire of the Lord” (Joshua 9:14). Instead, they used human reasoning by examining the facts, discussing the matter, and agreeing together to a conclusion. These things are never bad, but used alone, can be costly. If they had sought the Lord’s counsel before making a treaty with them, God would have revealed the evil intentions of the Gibeonites. Pastor Skip Heitzig says, “Divine proximity to the Lord is how to wise up to Satan’s attacks.”
Let me ask you…
Are you in the process of making an agreement with someone? A business partnership? A marriage proposal? A church assignment? Or some other joint venture? If so, make sure you inquire of the Lord before you sign your name on the dotted line.
Our online Bible study on Joshua is going to unveil great truths for our lives today. I hope you’ll join us as we study God’s Word together.