Working in the medical field for ten years, I often heard the term “consul.” Short for consultation, it simply meant that a person needed to see a doctor for an examination to make any further care decisions, many times from a specialist. Now in Joshua 9, the people were visited by the Gibeonites who were very deceptive. Gibeon had heard what the Lord had done for the Israelites and decided to make it appear as if they traveled from a far off land.
Their deception worked. The Israelites looked at what the Gibeonites had—old looking wine skins and moldy stale bread. It appeared that they did travel from a great distance. “They examined… but they DID NOT CONSULT THE LORD.” That was a big problem. We should examine. We should use the minds that God has given us. But first, ALWAYS FIRST, we need to consult God. Consulting Him will always be more important than anything we can come to understand on our own.
Don’t neglect your consul. Consult the Lord. Examining things alone is not enough. In a day when we have a world full of Gibeonites trying to deceive us, to make up their own truth, it is vital that we contact the One who can point us to the God’s Truth – the Absolute Truth.
“So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the LORD.”– Joshua 9:14 [NLT]
Right after the Israelites mess up by not inquiring of the Lord regarding the treaty with the Gibeonites, we read where the Israelites stick to the oath they made because they had “sworn an oath to them by the LORD.” In the text, we are reminded three times in three sequential verses of the importance of this oath sworn by the name of the Lord (Joshua 9:18, 19, 20). Although they had messed up, they followed through with the treaty, honoring the name of God. Despite the troubles that would come their way from honoring this treaty, they chose that over dishonoring the name of the Lord.
When we look around today, it is very easy to see that most people are not concerned with honoring the name of God. There are vows made before God that get broken very easily because no one wishes to have any inconvenience or find any resolutions to problems if it involves compromise. Words are said that dishonor God. Actions are taken that dishonor God. The Israelites mentioned three times the importance of keeping an oath sworn by the name of the Lord, but today some people see no need to honor God with words or actions.
We serve a holy God. We are called to be a holy people. Holy means “set apart.” The Bible says, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1 Peter 1:15). Today, consider the holiness of God and consider this call to be holy as well. We may mess up from time to time, but children of God have a great promise. One day we will be joining together to sing, “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8b). Let us honor God with our words and deeds.
When the Gibeonites came before God’s people, claiming to be from a distant country, “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD” (Joshua 9:14). The people of Gibeon made the false claims and had items to make their words appear to be true. They had the worn-out sacks and old wineskins. The bread was dry and moldy. The people sampled the lies, but never went to the Truth. As a result, because they believed the lies presented to them, they made an oath to the Gibeonites which became a burden to them.
There are times when we are presented with what appears to be factual information. We are to use good discernment to make decisions. But are we to approach God with everything? Should the Israelites have inquired of the Lord? Again and again God tells the Israelites to not make treaties with others, to not intermarry with others, to not allow themselves to get too close to the outsiders because they would then dwindle towards following their ways. Making a treaty, an alliance with someone, is a big deal.
Truth is God’s truth. In a day when people continue to try to twist the truth, it is important that we keep seeking the Lord for Truth. Just recently, I have seen someone bring up the topic of slavery in the Bible in a false manner to challenge the biblical definition of marriage. These people were sampling the lies rather than truly reading the word of God. So many today are sampling lies and making up their own truth. Today, stand firm in the truth. Seek the Lord rather than sampling the lies of the world.
“Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” – John 17:17 [NLT]