The Enemy Among US
(Those Sneaky Gibeonites)
INTRODUCTION: In Ephesians 6:11 we read, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil." It has been well said:
Satan is a very subtle enemy an expert in the ART OF DECEPTION. Satan knows all the weaknesses of human nature.
As Joshua began the conquest of the Promise Land, he faced three formidable enemies. These are the same three enemies you and I face each and every day in the Christian life, they being;
Jericho of Joshua 6 represents the WORLD.
Ai of Joshua 7 represents the FLESH.
The Gibeonites of Joshua 9 represents the DEVIL.
In Joshua 9 we have a striking illustration of the deceptive practices of the Devil. As the word went out to the other Canaanite people that Jericho and AI had fallen, certain dwellers in a nearby city decided if they wanted to live, they needed to come up with a plan to deceive Joshua. Let me pause to say this.
Every victory you and I win as a Christian in our personal life is an open invitation for a full scale invasion by the enemy of our soul.
Every time a child of God steps into an experience of blessing he is on the verge of another assault by the enemy. OUR BLESSINGS AND BATTLES GO SIDE BY SIDE.
If you are being pressed on every side and on every front by the enemy of your soul, then PRAISE GOD! It's a good sign, you are moving in the will of God.
After Israel's victories at Jericho and Ai, many of the kings of Canaan came together to form an alliance against God's people. Notice Joshua 9:1-2,
“And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side of Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof; (2) That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.”
However there was a group of people, who rather than join in the military attack against Israel, decided to come up with a strategy of PEACE not WAR. These were the GIBEONITES we read of in verses 3-13,
“And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, (4) They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; (5) And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. (6) And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us. (7) And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? (8) And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye? (9) And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt, (10) And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. (11) Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. (12) This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: (13) And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.”
These men were a bunch of very clever liars. They pretended to be envoys from a far country when in fact they lived only a few miles away. They told Joshua they really wanted to worship the true and living God. However, all this was just a HOAX, but Joshua fell for it.
What’s so shrewd about their strategy, actually involved a thorough knowledge of God's instructions to Israel long before they even entered the Land. And what was that knowledge?
In Exodus 23:31-33 God said these words to Moses, “And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. (32) Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. (33) They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.” God instructed that NO city in Canaan was to be spared and the Gibeonites who lived in Canaan knew that.
In Deuteronomy 20:10-12 we have an additional revelation given by Moses that the Gibeonites perhaps knew, thus the deception of appearing they had come from a far country, “When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. (11) And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. (12) And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it…”
Now return with me to Joshua 9 where the Gibeonites’ deception appeared to perfectly come together. They had done their research well and their strategy worked. They deceived Joshua into making a covenant with them in verse 15, “And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.” But notice the second grave mistake Joshua made in verse 14, “And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.”
Now in verses 16-22 the deception of the Gibeonites was discovered,
“And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them. (17) And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjath-jearim. (18) And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes. (19) But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them. (20) This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them. (21) And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them. (22) And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us?”
At this point the peace pact has already been made, they cannot back out now. Therefore in verses 23-27 Joshua placed a curse upon them and made them servants to Israel. Yes, they were allowed to live, but what a thorn they were to become in the side of Israel.
“Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God. (24) And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing. (25) And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do. (26) And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not. (27) And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.”
Perhaps the most significant lesson to come from this segment in Joshua's life is we can be led astray by making quick decisions without checking with the Word of God. We who supposedly know the Word of God should not be deceived. But we are.
Satan is a SUBTLE ENEMY, and lying is one of his common tactics. Jesus called him "the father of lies.” One of his deceptive tactics is to use God's Word to achieve his insidious goals.
Satan twisted the Word of God to deceive Eve.
Satan tried to tempt Christ astray with the same strategy.
Often I have heard Christians twist scripture to make it say what they want it to say to justify their own sinful ways, or to prove a point they want to make that will prove them right, when in fact that is not what the verse or passage is really saying.
Now from Joshua 9 there are TWO outstanding lessons I believe we can learn.
First Lesson: There is the Deception of Satan.
Satan knows a really committed Christian is not going to be trapped into an open frontal attack.
Satan is smart enough to know he can trip us up in our weakest moment at our strongest point when we take action or make decisions without consulting the WORD OF GOD.
How do we then overcome this enemy, the Gibeonites, who represent the devil? Over in the New Testament book of Ephesians that corresponds to the book of Joshua in the Old Testament, we find this parallel in Ephesians 6:10-17,
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
Our real enemy is not flesh and blood, but a spiritual enemy, SATAN HIMSELF. How may Christians even recognize him today? And how many more Christians get up each and every morning put their PHYSICAL CLOTHES on, but go out into the world spiritually NAKED without their SPIRITUAL ARMOR on that God has given to us in Ephesians 6.
Satan is a CLEVER DEVIL. He knows how to pull the "wool over our eyes."
In II Corinthians 2:11 we read, "Lest Satan should get an advantage over us, for we are not ignorant of his devices." Satan is out
to steal our affections,
to make us lower our standards, and
to compromise our position.
Frankly I am amazed at how much we are deceived by Satan:
How he gets us to listen to contemporary music that emphases the flesh which does not glorify God.
How he deceives us by excusing our roles in the family and blaming each other instead of dealing with our faults.
How he deceives us into following wolves in sheep’s clothing, men in high spiritual places that are deceiving even some of you.
How he gets us into unequal alliances, where we have to compromise our convictions and principles.
How he gets us to have a bitter spirit and then blame it on the other person when that bitter spirit is our sin with which we must deal.
How he get us to be prideful, thinking we can make it on our own without the Word of God.
How he gets us to line up with para-church organizations, colleges, and programs that are compromising the truths of the Word of God.
How he dupes young people into thinking they can handle dating an unsaved or carnal Christian. Or they can fool around with the flesh and get away with it. They are foolish to disobey the Word of God and let Satan get them into a trap.
What is the answer? How can we match Satan? LISTEN TO ME! Never trust your own judgment in anything.
When common sense says the course is right, lift your heart to God, for the path of faith and the path of blessing may be in a direction completely opposite to that which you call common sense.
When voices tell you your action is urgent, that something must be done immediately, refer everything to the tribunal of heaven. Be STRONG ENOUGH and BRAVE ENOUGH to dare to STAND and WAIT on God, for none that wait on Him shall ever be ashamed.
In James 4:7 we read, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
In I Peter 5:8 we read, "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil, like a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour."
Our Lord's advice in Mark 14:38 tells us to "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."
Just as those Gibeonites were sneaky in Joshua's day, so the Devil is a CLEVER DEVIL after you. Therefore the first thing you must do is SUBMIT yourselves unto God and then WATCH and PRAY lest Satan should get an advantage over you.
Before you make a decision, check it out with the authority of Heaven.
Before you make a move, make sure you have dealt with your sins and you are right with the Lord.
Before you leave your house, make sure you pray on your Spiritual Armor every day.
Second Lesson: The Peril of Prayerlessness: Out of Joshua 9, I call your attention to a second lesson, the peril of prayerlessness. Notice again verse 14. "They asked not council of the mouth of the Lord." It seems to take us a long time to learn the lesson that:
NEGLECT of PRAYER always leads to trouble.
NEGLECT of PRAYER destroys the spirit of discernment.
NEGLECT of PRAYER suggests a spirit of pride in our judgment.
The reason is simple why these sneaky Gibeonites succeeded.
Joshua was too quick to act, without consulting the Lord.
Joshua and the leaders of Israel walked by SIGHT and not by FAITH.
The leaders depended on their own senses, examined the facts, discussed the matter, and agreed in their conclusion. “IT WAS ALL VERY LOGICAL AND CONVINCING, BUT IT WAS ALL WRONG!"
Remember in Joshua chapter 7, they made the same mistake at the first battle of Ai. They set their plans, and not once consulted the Lord. They still had not learned their lesson to wait on the Lord. They needed as we do to remember Proverbs 3:5-6 to "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not upon thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."
The Israelites believed their negotiations were a ROUTINE, UNIMPORTANT matter, perhaps too INSIGNIFICANT to be taken to God for counsel. When will we learn that there is no matter too large or too small for God to be concerned about?
I John 5:14-15 teaches us as believers we have the RIGHT to come before God at ANYTIME, in ANY PLACE, with ANYTHING, with CONFIDENCE, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” The Hymn writer wrote,
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sin and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry EVERYTHING to God in prayer.
O' what peace we often forfeit, O' what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry EVERYTHING to God in prayer.
My greatest sin and probably your greatest sin is PRAYERLESSNESS. Our greatest trouble comes when we either pray too little, or do not pray at all.
In Mark 14:38 Jesus said, "Watch ye and pray lest you enter into temptation. The Spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." In our Lord's teaching the disciples how to pray, in Matthew 6:13, He said "and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one." Prayer is the remedy to help make us alert to temptation. Prayer enables us to stand up to the Devil's evil strategy.
An old proverb says, "Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees."
John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, wrote, "Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer."
Oh, the limitless power while on your knee-caps!
BELIEVE IT when the Bible says, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you." (James 4:8a)
BELIEVE IT when God says, "Call unto Me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3)
BELIEVE IT when God says, "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him." (Psalm 91:15a)
BELIEVE IT when God says "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." (John 15:7)
BELIEVE IT when the Bible says, "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thy heart,"(Psalm 34:7)
"Oh, what peace we often forfeit; Oh, what needless pain we bear; all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer."
There is no burden that God doesn't want to help us bear it.
There is no burden so small that God doesn’t want to share it.
There is no problem so great that God doesn’t want to help us solve it.
There is no problem so small that does not attract the attention of our God, and He wants to help us find a solution.
There is no question so hard that God can’t answer it.
There is no question that God doesn’t want to help us find the answer.
God is interested in your shopping; talk to Him about it.
God is interested in your work; talk to Him about it.
God is interested in your school; talk to Him about it.
God is interested in your housekeeping; talk to Him about it.
God is interested in your dating young people, talk to Him about it.
There is no area of life that should be kept from God, and we should be in constant touch with Heaven presenting our petitions and finding grace to help in time of need. What are the lessons of Joshua 9? They are two-fold.
Number 1: Christian BEWARE, Satan knows the Bible. His most successful attacks are not the obvious ones. To compromise with Satan is COURTING DISASTER. WE MUST BE ETERNALLY VIGILANT AGAINST THE ENEMY OF OUR SOULS.
The Gibeonites brought only trouble to Israel. Their presence in Israel cut across the center of the nation dividing the tribes in the North from the tribes in the south, this led to the ultimate dividing of the nation after the death of King Solomon.
Number 2: Again from verse 14, we must realize that everything in our lives is a matter of concern to God. We must PRAY about everything. We are to WATCH and PRAY. After Paul described for us the ARMOR we are to put on in order to defend against Satan's strategies, in Ephesians 6:18, we read, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance…"
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon “The Enemy Among US” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, let me know. Please send an e-mail to email@example.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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In His Amazing Grace,
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