But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to
and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. ( Jericho Joshua 9:3-4a)
Not only was
conquest of Canaan supernaturally supervised,
it was strategically sound. Beginning at
Jericho, a wedge would be driven through the
middle of Canaan, and then mopping up
operations would follow in the north and south.
They would divide and conquer—a wise war plan. I want to remind you that the church is in a
war. Our foe is Satan, not sinners. Our weapons are not material, but spiritual. It is no less real because it is spiritual in
nature. Yet, most Christians have no
battle plan. I want to assure you that
the enemy of our souls has a strategy.
Satan is right now plotting your defeat.
Paul wrote the Corinthians and commended them that they were not
ignorant of Satan’s “schemes” ( 2 Cor.2:11 HCSB). I am not sure Paul could say that about
us. The Apostle warned us about “the tactics of the Devil” ( Eph.6:11 HCSB). We learn of Satan’s strategies he employed in
We read of THE SCHEME OF THE ENEMIES OF GOD (v.1-13). There were two ways the Canaanites chose to fight the people of God. First, they attacked by direct assault (v.1-2). Satan attacks us as a roaring lion. When the child of God determines to walk by faith, the Devil will seek to paralyze us with fear. Any advance on his kingdom of darkness will bring a counter-attack. There is a bigger danger and that is deceitful appearance (v.3-13). Satan doesn’t always come as a roaring lion, but as an angel of light! The Gibeonites used guile to gain their way.
The enemy was successful due to THE SHORTCOMINGS OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD (v.14-15). Why were the Israeli’s fooled? There are three areas where they failed. They failed because communion was absent. There is not a hint that they considered praying about this proposal. The place of prayer is where the battle is won. Paul’s discussion of spiritual warfare and our armor culminates in a call to prayer. He who stands strongest, first kneels in weakness. There was a second shortcoming: counsel was avoided. They trusted in their own wisdom rather than God’s Word. They leaned on human reason rather than looking to heavenly revelation. Having a Word from God is critical for conquering the enemy. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. It is how the Perfect Man won. The Devil is a deceiver—error can seem so right. The Bible is the litmus test (see
1 John 4:1). Then the people of God failed because
compromise was allowed. An unholy
alliance was formed. If Satan cannot
have your soul, he will seek to ruin your testimony. He does this through compromise. Who knows how far we will go?
Yet, we also discover THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE PURPOSES OF GOD (v.16-27). Where sin abounds grace does much more abound. God has a sovereign purpose He will accomplish. There was the salvation of the Gibeonites (10:6-10).
kept their promise. Even when we fail,
we may still be used of God. Then, there
was the service of the Gibeonites. They
became servants, aiding in worship. If
you have failed, humble yourself and serve God.
Tears purify the soul. This does not
give us an excuse to surrender to Satan’s schemes. It does remind us that even though you cannot
change your past, you can be changed by it, and have a great future. Israel