The Apostle Paul warns us – “For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) Satan does not become an angel of light; he only masquerades himself to make it appear that way. Scripture says that Satan is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (see 1 Peter 5:8)
As we have learned thus far this week, the men of Gibeon disguised themselves in worn-out garments and carried moldy bread, making it appear that they had traveled a great distance and therefore not one of Israel’s enemies. (see Joshua 9:1-14) Being deceived by this scheme, Joshua and the elders agreed to a covenant with them which stated – ‘Not only will we not attack your city, we will also support you if ever someone else attacks you.’ (see Joshua 9:15)
But soon after the covenant was made, the truth was discovered.
Joshua 9:16 At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them. 18 …Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders. 19 But all the leaders said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them.
The people of Israel became angry once they discovered the truth, and rightly so. Joshua and the elders had acted foolishly. But the question now was – ‘What will we do now that we have made this bad decision?’
In today’s modern world, we would hire an attorney and look for a loop-hole in the contract. Yet Joshua did something totally different.
He Remained True to His Word
Unlike many living today, Joshua didn’t look for a way to get out of their agreement. He didn’t hire a lawyer or threaten to sue. He knew that his testimony as a man of God was at stake and therefore he determined to be true to his word, even if it ended up costing him something.
He Sought for a Way to Make the Situation Work
Joshua 9:20 This we will do to them: let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath that we swore to them.” 21 And the leaders said to them, “Let them live.” So they became cutters of wood and drawers of water for all the congregation, just as the leaders had said of them.
Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary – “Joshua and his associates teach us an important lesson: If you make a mistake, admit it; and then make your mistake work for you!”
Rather than turning against the Gibeonites, Joshua and the people put them to work. Was this a good solution? If we would continue to follow the history of the Gibeonites we would learn that some of their descendants eventually became servants in the Jewish Temple. Not only did the Gibeonites live in peace with Israel, it appears that many of them turned to the Jewish faith.
There will be times in life when we will make a bad decision. Rather than running from our decision or looking for a way to go back on our word, we should turn to God and seek His help. First, we should ask for God’s forgiveness. Then we should ask for His guidance. The Bible teaches us that God has the ability to make all things eventually work together for our good. (see Romans 8:28)