I ran into a familiar story in Joshua 9 yesterday morning that alarms me every time I read it.
God has miraculously led Joshua and the people of God across the swollen Jordan River and given them the cities of Jericho and Ai.
New and exciting territory!
And while they are all relaxing under the palm trees of Gilgal, fresh off these amazing victories, the Gibeonites show up, in disguise, asking for a peace treaty and claiming to be from a far away land.
No threat to anyone. Right?
Surely Joshua, at that moment, very likely Moses’ scribe throughout the Exodus, will remember writing Deuteronomy 7:2 …”when the Lord your God gives (the nations of Canaan) to you, you shall make no covenant with them…”
But no, Joshua and the leaders at Gilgal make a huge and costly choice.
They are feeling confident about early victories in the Promised Land and are easily deceived by the Gibeonite’s disguise. So, they make a covenant of peace with the enemy. Joshua 9:14 says they “did not ask counsel from the Lord.”
I have a hard time reading past that verse.
But even as I feel a rebuke for Joshua coming up inside me, I realize how often I do what he did.
From the earliest days of creation to the present, God-followers have had a choice. On the surface the choice would seem to be a no-brainier.
Should we live our lives in moment-by-moment dependence on the One who created us and who knows the end from the beginning… actively and intentionally seeking His guidance at every point in our lives.
Or, did “God give us a brain” so that we could figure things out ourselves and make day-to-day decisions effectively without Him for our lives, our families, our churches.
That has been the issue for God’s people since Genesis 4:26, where Scripture records that after the righteous line of Seth bore Enosh, “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.”
When Paul introduces himself to the church in Corinth, he writes that they are “called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (1 Corinthians 1:2)
That is the issue facing Christians in the Western world and the Church of Jesus today.
It is THE choice.
In practice I believe it is the choice directly connected to whether or not we have a daily practice of prayer…out of which then naturally flows a heart of prayer for those moments when the Gibeonites show up in disguise in your life.