So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord.
Joshua and the Israelites have come a long way, but still are far from perfect. One of the things God told them to do was to destroy everyone that lived in the land of Canaan as they were to take possession of it. So, that is what they were doing, until it came to the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites came to them looking tired from a long journey and made up a story about them being from a far away land. They came looking for a covenant. Which, after investigation, Joshua and the leaders gave them because they thought they were not from the land of Canaan. However, three days later they discovered they had been tricked – they lived in the land and should have been destroyed.
Have you ever done that? Made a decision you thought was right only to find out later that it wasn’t? Joshua and the leadership asked all the right questions and investigated all the right things, but they failed to do one very important thing. They never asked God what they should do. With that mistake they were now stuck in this covenant. They couldn’t back out of it without going back on their word which was also not something God would want of them. So, even though it was a mistake, it was one they would have to live with. Have you ever had to just live with the mistake you made, unable to go back in time and change it?
Joshua and the leaders made the best of it. They made one mistake but did not allow it to lead to others. From that point forward they sought to honor God, even in the mistake. They did not go back on their word and kept their covenant, even though they were getting pressure from the people to destroy the Gibeonites. They even went to the rescue of the Gibeonites and fought a long battle in order to protect them. We can make mistakes, but they don’t have to be what defines us and they do not have to lead to more mistakes.
Let’s learn from Joshua. Mistakes will happen. But, that isn’t the end. Keep going, making better decisions, and keep following God. Even though they messed up, God never left them. God led them to victory, in a miraculous way, as they defended the Gibeonites. God will be with you always, even through your mistakes.
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Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.