Joshua Lesson 12

Deceit, Compromise and Grace

Joshua Chapter 9 Continued

1.    When we move from life as a child, to adulthood, we are expected to carry a healthy appreciation for lessons learned from our mistakes.

    Q1.  Ask the group to mention some of the childhood lessons they have learned.  Discuss how they make us better adults. Who were the key trainers?  Did the lasting lessons come mostly from parents, grandparents, teachers, or others?  

2.     Fresh from the sin of Achan and the Ai defeat (Chap 7), then the fall of Ai, Joshua celebrated the renewal of the covenant on Mount Ebal.  Joshua then led the Jews into the lands east of the Jordan River, to face a group of kings, who had forged an agreement to align themselves against Israel.  Amazingly (and with Ai in their recent memory) Joshua and the Jews made another major blunder.  They fell for a deceitful ruse by the Gibeonites.  Read Joshua 9:3-16 for context.
    a.    Recall that they were forbidden by God to make treaties with any people in the Promised Land.  See Exodus 23:32-33 and Deut. 20:16-18.
    b.    Yet Joshua made a peace treaty, and let them live.  (Joshua 9:15)
    c.    This violated the treaty of recommitment, which they had just consummated at Ebal.
    d.    It’s also remarkably similar to how Satan tempts us today, and we fall for it over and over again.  (Heb. 3:12, 13)
    Q2.  Identify some modern day Gibeonites (areas of compromise) in our hearts, homes, or churches.  What are the possible consequences of our making peace with each of them?  Read Jeremiah 17:9 and 10; Psalm 32:10; Prov. 25:28; 10:29; 11:18, 21; 28:4, 13).

    Q3.  In what areas does God command us not to compromise?  Abhor evil - Romans 12:9; false teachers - Galatians 1:8, 9; keeping His commandments – John 14:15; loving one another – John 13:14; loving the Lord – Matt. 22:37, 38 and the Ten Commandments – Exod. 20:3-17.  Others?
3.    Negotiation and Compromise.  When Israel (and Joshua) negotiated with the Gibeonites, and ignored God’s order to destroy the city, they allowed compromise to jeopardize their Godly mission.  Negotiation (or looking for a middle ground) is normally not wrong, in and of itself, unless (and this is a big unless) it involves a direct command from God (thou shalt not… etc). To clarify, a good way to look at this is: never negotiate our Christian convictions, direct orders from the Lord, or core values of our faith.  When we go counter to this, we wander into shark infested waters.

    Q4.  What are some other things that members of the group would want to mention, which it may be unwise or wrong to compromise on?
4.    Disregard of Wise Counsel
    a.    Note there is no mention that Joshua and Israel asked God for guidance in this matter.
    b.    As stated earlier, it is kind of amazing that this occurred, just a few days after the Ai defeat.
    c.    Brings my mind to the importance of our striving to know the will of God in all things we are focusing on, determining what He wants us to do and then obeying. 
    d.    We know that God’s will for our lives is revealed to us in scripture, by the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives, though the word and actions of others, and through prayer and meditation.
    Q5.  What does God reveal about His divine nature, in allowing us to ignore His wise counsel? Also, what do we learn by obeying or not obeying His will for us?
5.    Lessons from What Happened to the Gibeonites?
    a.    God can turn a dreadful past, disobedience, and mistakes into a glorious future!
    b.     God’s mercy, in forgiving Joshua and Israel’s disobedience, is confirmation of His patience and longsuffering nature with us. 
    c.    The lives of the Gibeonites were delivered through the mercy of Joshua and Israel.  We are delivered through the mercy of God. 
    d.    The Gibeonites were required to become common laborers to Israel.  This spared their lives and benefited Israel.  God can turn our mistakes into good for kingdom work.
    e.    What we have done in the past is over.  There is nothing we can do to change that.  I am encouraged that we can be used again for His glory.
    f.    God agreed to meet the Gibeonites where they were, and use them.  He is still in that business.
6.    In closing this lesson, let’s move on to review a few scriptures about God’s grace and mercy.
    a.    God’s Mercy
        (i)    2 Samuel 24:14  ….”God’s mercies are great”…
        (ii)    Psalms 86:5 - “For you Lord are good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy”….
        (iii)    Psalms 145:9 - “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
        (iv)    Luke 6: 36 - “Therefore be merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”
        (v)    Ephesians 2:4 - “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,”…

    b.    God’s Grace
        (i)    John 1:14 - “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
        (ii)    Ephesians 4:7 - “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
        (iii)    Hebrews 12:15 - “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God, that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”
        (iv)    Ephesians 2:8-9 - “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

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