“But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.””
Joshua 9:3-6 NKJV
“Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.”
Joshua 9:14-15 NKJV
One of the most dangerous things for the follower of Jesus is to act by ones own will, and fail to consult God. We look upon the surface of a situation set before us, and we go on our own gut instinct, forgoing the infinite foreknowledge of God. We ultimately suspend our hard values, to do what seems good on the surface.
Sometimes this involves associating with people who present themselves as like us, friends and not foes. This is especially true in modern American Christianity. There are so many different splinters of the faith, and so many different views, most of which have all but forgotten the word of God.
Joshua and the children of Israel were faced with a moment where they had to discern if they people they encountered were near from afar. The Gibeonites had heard of what Israel had done to Ai and did not want to suffer the same fate. They set about dressing as people arriving from a far away place, in the hopes that they would not be destroyed.
Because of their failure to consult the Lord, they made vows to the Gibeonites, that could not be rescinded. They had become unequally yoked, bound to people not sharing the same God, not under the same holy calling.
For the follower of Jesus, we too are danger of being unequally yoked, bound to people who do not share our focus on the Lord.
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.””
II Corinthians 6:14-17 NKJV
In these perilous times, the choice between what is of God and not of God is determined by the handling of the word of God. Those who remain faithful to what the Bible says, should have no dealings with those whose foundation is based on personal experience, or extra biblical references, and traditions.
Like Israel should have done, let us, brothers and sisters, consult the Lord. It can seen unfriendly to be about the business of “checking the fruit” of those who seek fellowship with us, but not is crucial, for we are at a time when our failure to do so, leaves an opening for sin and other encumbrances that can inhibit our ability to shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Consult the Lord, focusing on His word as to how one should be. Look for the fruits of the Spirit, which should be in abundance.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
These characteristics are best witnessed in the direst of times, when the pressures are bearing down. If the counter of those things are seen, a preponderance of flesh, than one should avoid those who show the evidence of sin at all costs. We are known by our fruit.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV
Let us not be fooled by the exteriors presented to us, but let us look inward, relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance, and consulting God’s word as authority. We are headed for the promised land, my people, and enemy is crafty. Let us rely on our all knowing God.
Have a Fabulous Friday!