When the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, they quickly began to conquer it. First the city of Jericho fell - literally! Then, after a setback due to ‘sin in the camp’, the city of Ai met a similar fate.
Naturally, word began to spread of these victories and the indigenous peoples of Canaan were frightened. One such group was the Gibeonites.
Looking to avoid the fate of their neighbors, the people of Gibeon decided to trick the Children of Israel into making a treaty with them, thereby avoiding destruction. They loaded down their animals with worn out sacks and wineskins, donned worn out clothing and sandals and packed bread that was dry and moldy. Approaching the Children of Israel, they claimed all of these things were new when they left their home but that the long journey they’d been on had taken its toll. The Gibeonites knew the Children of Israel had been commanded to destroy everyone and everything in Canaan so they wanted to appear to be from far away.
We pick up the story in Joshua chapter 9, verse 14:
14 The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD . 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.
16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them.
Oops! What led to this colossal miscalculation?
Take a look at how verse 14 reads in more contemporary terms:
14The men of Israel looked them over and accepted the evidence. But they didn't ask GOD about it. (The Message)
They examined the evidence in the absence of any input from God and reached an incorrect conclusion.
Human nature hasn’t changed much in the hundreds of intervening years. The Children of Israel looked at old bread and, in the absence of God’s Word, assumed it must be indicative of a long journey, never stopping to consider that old bread could just as easily indicate a short journey if it had been old to start with!
Today, human beings under the guise of science look at old bones and make assumptions about the evidence as well. They assume that the bones must be indicative of an evolutionary progression beginning with single celled animals and culminating in human beings. Never considering that the bones may simply be from an animal God designed and created whose kind has no contemporary survivors as well as no connection to human beings except that both were created by God.
They see fossil layers and assume they must represent millions and billions of years of earth history, never considering that the same presentation of evidence could in fact result from a cataclysmic worldwide flood which God’s Word tells us did indeed happen some 4500 years ago.
Finally, they see death, disease and destruction and assume a loving god must not exist, never considering that these things might be caused by our own sin which has corrupted God’s originally perfect world.
No matter the evidence we’re examining, if we do so without consulting the Word of God we risk coming to incorrect conclusions. Even things which seem impossible by human standards must be accepted as Truth if God’s Word says they are true. Conversely, things which seem obviously true must be rejected as false if God’s Word says they are false.
As Paul tells us in Romans 3:4:
“…Let God be true, and every man a liar…”
Is God’s Word supreme in all your decision making?