9:9 – They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the LORD your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.” ‘ 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”
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.
10:6 – The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us.”
7 So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. 8 The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”
9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10 The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.
12 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!
His Strange Work
The book of Joshua transforms itself slightly and becomes more of a record than a narrative, so we will begin to be a little more selective as we go over the next few chapters. Joshua 9 is a strange little event in this history, where the people of Gibeon trick the Israelites into making a peace treaty with them, so that they can avoid being defeated. Then in Chapter 10, we read that Joshua and the Israelites defend their new allies from five enemy kings in chapter 10.
The interesting thing about this passage is in 9:14, where it says that the Israelites did not inquire of the Lord before they made the treaty. It would seem that this account would exemplify disobedience, or at least ignoring God. But strangely in chapter 10, God does tell Joshua to defend the Gibeonites, even intervening in the battle with a spectacular miracle! So it appears that even though the Israelites did not inquire of the Lord, the Lord still was at work in their lives.
Often in our lives, we don’t inquire of the Lord. We don’t pray. We don’t even consider God in how we make decisions or plan our lives. But the amazing thing is that even when we ignore him, he still works all the events and choices of our lives to bring us closer to him. It is such a comforting thing to know that we serve a God who can take our greatest missteps and transform them into our greatest blessings! And here, even in the OT, we see a glimpse of the grace that is to come…
Also, we should never forget that God’s ways are higher than our ways, that whether we inquire of him or not, his will will be accomplished. Despite Israel’s dangerous self-reliance, it was God’s will that the Gibeonites should be spared, and it was God’s will that the Israelites should be victorious over the 5 Amorite kings. In the book of Isaiah 28:21, it says that God did “his work, his strange work” at the valley of Gibeon. We realize that God works in an through all situations, even when we think that he’s not there at all!
1. Was there ever a time where you made a decision totally without involving God, and it ended up being a blessed choice?
2. Have you ever experienced God transforming a mistake or misstep on your part into something that you now treasure or were blessed by?
3. “If God’s will is always going to be done, then I might as well not inquire of the Lord because it’s going to happen anyway!” Sounds plausible, but what do you think is wrong with this mentality?
4. Is there a situation in your life right now where you are plowing ahead without inquiring of God? What steps can you take to try to come under God’s will?