Of course both you and I love our country. And even more, we love our God and place him before all. And God loves us. Actually, he loved us first (Romans 5:8)! And he sent his only son, Jesus to save us. And save us he did! He did not come to topple the government or even to rise up against it. He did not want to be set up as king or ruler (John 6:15). He settled down in his town, his country just as Jeremiah told God’s people (Jeremiah 29:5).
But I hear some of my friends who look at the situation in our country and are asking, “What are we to do?” And perhaps Scriptures has a key to that question. See what you think. But, remember, God’s Word is alive and God is speaking to us today! And so, let’s take a look at a story taken from the book of Joshua, one that you may or may not remember. So let me tell you what happened in the story in my own words (and, of course, listing the Scriptures themselves).
As you may recall, Moses led God’s people for years and brought them right to the edge of the Promised Land! But it was Joshua who actually took the people into the Promised Land! Remember how God instructed him to take over the land and expel the people who were living there. God promised that he would be with them in the battles. And those battles were victorious (Joshua 1: 1-11). And even without Facebook and Twitter, word got around to all the other kingdoms about Joshua’s victories. And it is there that we enter the story that I think may be a guide for us today (from Joshua 9 & 10)… for those asking “what are we to do?”
The people of Gibeon heard about the battles and were (rightly so) afraid that soon, they too would be conquered as Joshua and his army advanced. But rather than rising up to wage war against Joshua as the other kingdoms were doing (Joshua 9:1-2), Gibeon had a plan … they wanted to get a peace treaty with Joshua, but were afraid that since they were so near to where Joshua was winning his battles that he would not agree to a peace treaty. So, they thought, hmmmm. Maybe if we told him we lived in a very distant territory?! What does Scriptures say about them as they came up with this plan? How does Scriptures refer to the people of Gibeon? I looked at over 30 translations to see what terminology various translators used to describe them and how they were planning to act:
- set out to fool them
- resorted to a ruse
But, I like how the Easy to Read Version (and other translations as well) puts it:
They decided to try to trick the Israelites.
And, trick them they did! Here is how the New International Version tells about how they set up their clever deception:
They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy.
And it worked! When they got there, they placed their request before Joshua:
We are your servants; make a treaty with us.
And Scriptures then tells us that Joshua believed their story about how they came from a great distance, and did indeed sign a peace treaty with them:
Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.
And so, you may be asking, what does that have to do with us today? Well, you spoke too soon … because that is NOT the end of the story! Just three days later the Israelites found out that the Gibeonites were their next door neighbors! The people grumbled to their leaders about it. But the leaders basically said, what’s done is done… we can’t touch them now! The vote was taken and confirmed. It’s done. It’s over. Trickery or not, we must abide by the law, follow the rules!
And now YOU may be grumbling… but, once again, I have NOT finished the story yet!
As you already know, word gets around quickly. And soon the kings of five other kingdoms near Gibeon banded together and attacked Gibeon. And the Gibeonites felt doomed. But they remembered that they had a treaty with the Israelites, so they quickly sent word to them:
The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us.”
And now what? Gibeon was deceptive and tricked the Israelites into ratifying a peace treaty. So, this now would be the perfect excuse for Israel to get out from it! But that is not what happened. What happened is something that we should take to heart today. Yes, Gibeon tricked the Israelites. Yes, Gibeon was deceptive in their negotiations. Yes, they were clever and cunning and fooled them. However, Joshua was an honorable man, just as we are supposed to be. Scriptures tell us what Joshua did:
Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men.
And yes, Joshua not only honored the agreement that was voted on and passed in their assembly. He then FOUGHT FOR THE GIBEONITES! Yes, he took their side! And since you got this far in the story, you should know that not only was God there with the Israelites in the ensuing battle, but God also intervened by breaking the laws of physics! You might not have remembered the prior story, but perhaps you remember how Scriptures tell us the battle was fought:
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since.
And now you know the rest of the story! Perhaps it can help guide us through the coming days, weeks, months and years. We are honorable. We love God and God loves us. Once a vote has been counted and certified, it is done, regardless of what we may think about events that led up to it. Let’s acknowledge it, honor it and continue to love God above all.
Read the full account => Joshua chapters 9 and 10
I personally wrote this and grant permission to copy or use any of this for your own articles or posts – Len Lindsay (God Is In Our Midst)