READING: Joshua 9-10
Have you ever made a decision and later looked back to think, “I sure wish I’d prayed about that some more”? I suspect all of us have more than one story like that. The problem with that kind of story is that we don’t recognize we didn’t pray enough until it’s late in the game — until after we’ve made a bigger mess than the first one, until after our self-dependence leads to self-regrets.
The Hebrews learned that lesson the hard way in today’s reading. God had commanded them to eradicate their enemies in the land, and the Gibeonites had heard that rumor. They’d also heard about God’s evident protection and power on the Hebrews, so they cooked up a plan to convince the leaders that they weren’t “locals.” Wearing tattered clothing and carrying dried out goods to appear as if they’d traveled a long way, they sought and secured a covenant with the Hebrews. Their deception worked.
A single verse in Joshua 9 hints at why the ruse was effective: “So the men [of Israel] took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD” (Joshua 9:14). It’s simple — the Hebrews didn’t pray. The men formed a treaty on the basis of what they perceived to be the truth, but their perception was decidedly wrong. Their trust of their own ability to figure out who the enemy was (and wasn’t) led only to trouble. The foolishness of this error becomes even more apparent when we see God’s willingness to fight for His people — including even holding the sun in the sky in response to Joshua’s prayer request.
We must not miss this picture. The enemy who seeks to deceive us is sly, a liar who disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:). He is usually better at deceiving than we are at discerning, most especially when we try to figure stuff out using our wisdom apart from seeking God. How, then, do we avoid making the mistake the Hebrews made? Here are a few steps:
- Faithfully live in God’s Word. Know God so well that you more readily recognize when the enemy shows up.
- Pray so much about everything that it’s almost hard not to pray about decisions that require discernment.
- Involve other faithful believers in major decisions. Trust that somebody is walking with God so deeply that group input will lead to the best decision.
ACTION STEPS: Consider these steps:
- Confess to God any previous decision you made without seeking Him enough. Accept His forgiveness, and then move on.
- Today, set a goal of talking to God about every decision you make. Grow in the practice of talking continually to Him.
PRAYER: “Lord, make me spiritually perceptive enough that I recognize the enemy’s tricks today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Joshua 11-13