Snapshots: Day 127
The Snapshot: “the people of Gibeon …. resorted to a ruse.” (Josh 9:3,4) Sneaky Gibeonites! Jesus once said, “the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.” (Lk 16:8) Rahab had already shown it was possible to join Israel and become part of them but Gibeon didn’t know that so they took to worldly deception – and almost got away with it, except ended up becoming servants to Israel. The lesson, on Israel’s side has surely got to be don’t take things at face value (see 1 Sam 16:7) and there is a need to inquire of the Lord when confronted with circumstances we’ve never faced before. Failure to do that means we may end up struggling for wisdom to deal with the consequences. Fortunately it is available (Jas 1:5)
Further Consideration: In the previous study we said life and how it works is funny, not ha-ha funny but strange funny, complex funny. It’s a real mish-mash of good, bad and indifferent. Sometimes people do things which leave the thinking person going, ‘Hold on, is that right?’ Some of us do that about Rahab. “Is it right that she told lies to the authorities to protect the spies?” Well in this Fallen World sometimes we have to choose between the lessor of two evils. If there weren’t so many wrong things going on in Canaan that God didn’t need to claim it back, this situation wouldn’t have arisen. Her lie means they were saved, able to report back and God’s plan proceed. She ends up in the family tree of the human side of the Son of God. (Mt 1:5) Amazing.
But then we come to these Gibeonites. Bad Canaanites! Pagans! Yes but smart Canaanites who knew which way the wind was blowing! You either get up, run and leave this land for who knows where, you stay and fight against this big nation, and probably end up dead, or somehow you plot to get them to accept you. Right, that last one sounds the most sensible!
What is interesting to ponder here is how Joshua and Israel would have responded to them if they had simply arrived and said, “We’re Canaanites but we want to join you.” My guess is that Israel would have said, “Not likely! We’ve been told to clear you lot out, so go or be killed.”
Now there is funny thing I’ve noticed about Israel, running through the Old Testament (again not funny ha-ha) and it is this awareness that who they were also went along with the awareness that they were to be seen who they were by the rest of the world, so the world could learn about God. Right, but so what? So they then go over to God’s side – just like these Gibeonites did! Wow, didn’t see that coming!
Expediency – the path of right end by wrong means – is something to be held lightly and, like the choice of the lesser of two evils, only used where necessary. I need to think more on that.