The people of Israel have just defeated the city of Ai and are preparing to march deeper into Canaan as they claim the Promised Land that the Lord had given to them. They now have a couple of victories under their belts. They had to learn a difficult lesson before they defeated Ai, and there are more lessons for them to learn as they move forward to possess the land that God has promised them. The next lesson they must learn deals with becoming too friendly with the enemy. As believers we also must consider this important lesson. The Bible tells us that our enemy, Satan, is like a roaring lion that is seeking someone to devour. He is a very effective adversary, and we are warned that we must watch for his attacks. As we study this passage, let's learn the lesson that Israel had to learn. There is danger in becoming too friendly with our enemy. Read: v1-13
I. The Enemy Can Be Deceptive v1-13
A. Background Info.
1. When all the kings of Canaan heard what had happened to Ai and to Jericho, they joined forces to seek to defeat Israel.
2. The kings of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, were sworn enemies…
3. But they formed an alliance to fight against the Israelites.
4. Isn't it amazing how the devil's crowd will join up to fight God's people?
5. That is how the enemy works!
B. He Uses Deceptive Wiles. v3-5
1. When the Gibeonites heard that the Israelites were headed in their direction, they devised a scheme to trick Israel into making a peace treaty with them.
2. They dressed in old clothes, carried old bread and wine and pretended that they were from far away.
3. They did everything in their power to trick Israel.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
4. The word "wiles" refers to "deceit, trickery, cunning arts."
5. Satan would like nothing better than to trip us up and cause us to fall into one of his traps.
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
6. The word 'snare' refers to a trap set by a hunter in order that he might capture his prey.
7. So, Satan uses deceptive wiles, just like the people of Gibeon did.
C. Note the Gibeonites' Deception
1. The Gibeonites had taken every step possible to deceive Israel into believing that they were from a far away country.
2. They carried old sacks on their donkeys, broken and bound up wine skins, patched shoes shabby clothing and even some moldy bread.
3. Things are not always as they may appear.
4. When Satan comes against us it isn't openly, it is with tools of deception.
2Co 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
D. He Uses Deceptive Words v6-13
1. Notice that in these verses, these men from Gibeon lied.
2. They claimed to be something they were not.
3. They didn't mention anything that had happened since Israel had crossed Jordan, giving the impression that they had indeed been traveling for quiet some time.
4. Again, this is a perfect picture of our enemy, the devil.
5. He will use slick and enticing speech to get us to yield to his plans for our life.
6. The devil will give us every reason in the world to justify the things he wants us to do.
7. What do you think Satan told…
a. Cain to get him to kill Abel?
b. David to get him to sleep with Bathsheba?
c. Judas to get him to betray the Lord Jesus?
d. Demas to get him to forsake Paul?
e. That person who refuses to forgive?
2Co 2:10-11 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
II. The Enemy Can Be Destructive v14-21
A. Their Ability To See Clearly Was Disrupted v14
1. Notice that in verse 7, Joshua initially was a little skeptical of these so-called ambassadors.
2. He questioned them about their origin again in verse 8.
3. Joshua is to be commended for his caution, but he gave up just a little too soon!
4. When the Gibeonites showed him their clothes, their food and the broken wineskins, Joshua was more than impressed and he believed their story!
5. How are we supposed to be able to discern truth from error? The Word of God!
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
6. When our spiritual vision gets dim through neglect of the Word of God and prayer, we become very susceptible to the tricks and traps of the enemy.
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
7. We must always be on guard to avoid his attacks.
B. Their Ability To Seek Counsel Was Disrupted
1. To break bread with someone in that day was considered to be a sign of unalterable friendship.
2. But what they considered to be the right thing to do turned into a problem because they did not take the time to take the matter to the Lord in prayer.
3. As a result, they stepped out of the will of God and had to suffer the consequences!
4. How many times has this been true in our lives?
a. We jump into things and do not realize that we have made a mistake, because we didn't take the time to pray.
b. God will lead us in our decisions when we seek His will through the Word and in prayer.
c. But He will not force us to seek His counsel!
C. Their Ability To Stay Clean Was Disrupted v15-21
1. God had told them to utterly destroy the inhabitants and to make no covenants with them.
De 7:2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
2. However, Israel disobeyed this command and as a result they sinned before the Lord.
3. Now we can point our fingers at them and say, "Shame on those Israelites", but the point is to learn from their example.
4. The Word of God plainly tells us what the Lord's will is for our lives.
2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
5. Yet, all too often, we will allow the flesh, the world and the devil to distract and defeat us.
III. The Enemy Can Be Defeated v22-27
A. The Enemy Must Be Confronted v22
1. When Joshua found out what these people had done, he went straight to them and rebuked them and confronted them about their sins.
2. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He turned to the Word of God.
3. He confronted Satan with the Truth and caused the devil to flee from His presence!
4. Satan cannot stand in the presence of the truth!
5. If we will confront him with the Word of God, he will flee from us!
B. The Enemy Must Be Controlled v27
1. There is no question that Joshua and Israel made a mistake when they dealt with the Gibeonites.
2. But mistakes can be corrected.
3. Joshua realized the seriousness of what they had done and he immediately took the necessary steps to control the situation.
4. They couldn't kill them, because they have given them their word, but they could control the situation!
5. In your life and mine, there will be times when we will step out of the Lord's will and commit sin.
6. But God has a way for us to deal with sin, through confession, repentance, and forgiveness!
7. We must face the fact that our sins carry consequences that must play out completely, yet we can get right with the Lord and we can serve Him faithfully.
8. We must learn from our sins and our failures so that we do not fall into those same traps again!
9. Either we will control our sins, or they will control us!
Will we fail the Lord as we go through life? Probably, and often! However, our sins and mistakes do not have to knock us out of the Lord's work! When we fail we need to allow the Lord to use that time of sin, chastisement, correct, repentance and restoration in our lives for His glory.
What the enemy means for our defeat can be turned into the source of our greatest victories, if we will allow the Lord to have His way in our mistakes. We can't undo the things we have done, but we can bring them to Jesus and He can use them to help us grow in Him.