Joshua 9:3-6, "But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal, they told Joshua and the men of Israel, 'We have come from a distant land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us.'"
Have you ever made a decision without seeking God first?
I did a study on the book of Joshua, and this chapter was one that stood out to me. The thing that stuck with me the most was how instead of seeking God, the Israelites made the poor decision of going with what they saw with their physical eyes instead of praying and asking to see through God's eyes.
I was reminded of all the times I went ahead in doing something either before praying or in spite of me not having peace. Some of my worst decisions are ones I made without making sure it was God's will.
With the Israelites in this story, all they paid attention to was what they were seeing. Everything appeared to prove that these people were from a distant land: weathered saddlebags... old, patched wineskins... worn-out, patched sandals... ragged clothes... dry, moldy bread. When looking at these things, it appears they're telling the truth. However, sometimes things are not as they seem.
Had the Israelites gone to God before making a decision, perhaps the outcome would've been different. They could've seen what was really happening instead of making a poor decision.
It's easy to look at the Israelites and be harsh on them for the decision they made. Personally, though, I know I've done the same thing at times.
I can't tell you how many times someone will ask me if I can do something, and before making sure I pray about it, I'll answer with a quick, "Yes!"
At other times, I'll be faced with the opportunity to do something, and there may be something that doesn't seem right inside my spirit about it, yet I proceed to do it anyway. Then, later I wish I would have heeded the warning of that still, small voice inside of me.
Sometimes we're too quick to think something is okay, but at other times we are too quick to jump to conclusions.
If you read further on in Joshua, Chapter 22 has a story about the men of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh building an altar. The rest of Israel was thinking they were building an altar to betray God and rebel against Him. They jumped to that conclusion and were preparing to go to war with them. It turned out, though, that their reason for building this altar was not as it seemed to the rest of Israel. Joshua 22:26-27 says, "So we decided to build the altar, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a memorial. It will remind our descendants and your descendants that we, too, have the right to worship the Lord at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and peace offerings. Then your descendants will not be able to say to ours, 'You have no claim to the Lord.'"
Have you ever jumped to a conclusion about a person only to find that you were wrong?
In both of these stories, what God revealed to my heart was the importance of seeking Him and making sure I'm seeing through His eyes and not my own. Only when we go to God and ask for His wisdom will we be able to see things clearly.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You know that sometimes I look at things through my own eyes instead of asking to be able to see through Your eyes. When I do this, I don't see things clearly. It's easy to jump to false conclusions. My prayer is that You'll open my eyes to see people and situations the way You see them. Rather than making decisions based on how things seem to myself, help me seek You first so I can make the right decision.
In Jesus' Name.
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