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Continuing our “Taking Ground” series, this past weekend Pastor Doug shared from Joshua 9. In this message, we explored the deception of the Gibeonites and how we can ensure we find ourselves in the truth, why we shouldn’t be so hasty to make oaths or promises, and the importance of keeping our word.
Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the teaching and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
The Enemy Uses Deceit to Stop You from Taking Ground (Joshua 9:1–6): Deception happens when we fail to apply divine strategy to our daily living. When we’re not finding ourselves praying through our decisions, studying the Word, or using biblical discernment, we become susceptible to the lies of the enemy. This is why Jesus instructs us to be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16 NIV) in a world full of wolves. So, our best defense against the deceptions and traps of the devil is to test the spirits (1 John 4:1); to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we fact check everything against the truth of the Bible.
Prayer Opens Your Mind to See the Truth (Joshua 9:7–16): Even though something felt off about the story being sold by the Gibeonites, they ignored their gut and made the treaty. Even though the leaders of Israel clearly had some intuition in their gut from God about the claims being made by the Gibeonites that they were a people from far, far away, they entered into a pact with them that prevented the Israelites from clearing them from the Promised Land, as they were supposed to.
Because they did not practice spiritual discernment, because they did not seek the guidance and revelation of the Lord, they unknowingly made a deal with their enemies. Herein lies the danger of decision-making apart from the Lord. When we rely on our own wisdom, discernment, and understanding, we put ourselves at risk. We have a small view of all things, an extremely limited tunnel vision that keeps us from seeing the whole picture. We don’t know all the facts and variables, we don’t have all the answers or information. And so, when we do things without praying, without seeking the One who knows all, sees all, and understands all, we are acting foolishly.
Rushing into Decisions Means You May Miss the Warning Signs (Joshua 9:14–16): The Israelites did not inquire of the Lord at all before making a deal with the enemy. If they had just waited three days, they would’ve known the truth. You see, time is the tool God uses to reveal deception. But waiting on the Lord is hard; waiting on anything is hard. It was hard for the Israelite leaders to wait, and it’s hard for us today. In fact, it’s likely even harder today as we have created for ourselves a fast food culture that has virtually eliminated waiting on anything.
As a fast-paced, always moving, hyper-productive society, we have made it impossible on ourselves to wait on the Lord. The virtue of patience, the practices of silence and solitude, these things have all but disappeared. This is the culture we created and the culture our kids are growing up in. The generation of today has never had to wait for anything, so imagine what it must be like to wait upon the Lord for an answer, to stop, pray, fast, take some time, and patiently wait upon the Lord when it comes to decision-making.
But here’s the thing: When we rush into decisions without waiting on the Lord, we miss the obvious warning signs. Why? Because we’re not looking objectively or carefully. Don’t make hasty decisions; take your time! Pray through everything; make this a habit. Build prayer into your process for everything you do. No one knows better what the best decision is than God, so let’s not cut Him out of our process.
Keep Your Covenants as Seriously as God Does (Joshua 9:17–27): What does your word mean to others? Are you trustworthy; reliable? If you make an oath, keep it! Joshua knew he had made a covenant and given his word. Thus, he knew he had to keep the pact, lest he dishonor himself, his people, and the Lord and bring the judgment of God upon himself like Saul did in later years.
Have you ever been hurt by a broken vow or promise? A broken promise can be devastating to our soul and the souls of the people around us. Have you ever hurt someone by breaking a promise or vow? We would do well to remember that feeling when we consider breaking our promises.
God’s Redemption Is a Beautiful Mystery: God redeems our mistakes. He redeemed the mistake of Joshua and the leaders of Israel as it pertained to the Gibeonites. He redeemed the Gibeonite’s deception as we see them serve faithfully in the temple, even returning to Jerusalem during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.
As believers, we will make mistakes. We will fall short, we will transgress. But the good news is that we are protected by a greater oath than Joshua’s: the communion of Jesus. Unlike the Gibeonites, we didn’t trick Jesus into covering us with His blood. He knew who we were, He knew what we had done and would do, He knew our deepest sins and darkest thoughts, and yet He still loves us and gave His life for us. Unlike the covenant with the Gibeonites, He didn’t make us carry the wood; instead He carried it Himself as He carried the cross we rightly deserved. He didn’t make us carry the water; instead He offers us living water!
Quote to Remember: Time is the tool God uses to reveal deception.—Pastor Doug Sauder
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.
1. Have you ever been tricked into believing something that wasn’t true? Have you ever fallen for a con or lie? How did that make you feel? What steps can you take to prevent this from happening again?
2. What does your decision-making process look like? What part does prayer play in it?
3. What happens when youerush into decisions? Why is time such a valuable tool as it pertains to the way you make decisions?
4. Is there a compromise in your life that you’ve made your peace with?
5. How can a broken vow affect your relationships? Your testimony? Your soul?
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Join us on Wednesday as Community Life Pastor Greg Anderson explores the importance of wisdom and discernment in our spiritual life.
Then on the weekend, Pastor Chris Baselice from our Plantation campus will share a powerful word from Joshua 10. Come experience a wild and miraculous scene as the sun stands still and learn why the devil will often attack you by going after the people you love.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.