By Sight

We have to check ourselves to remember by which sight we are walking, and by which sight we are moving or speaking. Very often, we react based on what we see instead of doing based on what God has said to us.

This is what happened to the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land, the land of Canaan. They took Jericho, and then after some consternation because someone had taken items from Jericho that should have been given to the Lord, they also took Ai. Now, word began to spread that the Israelites were on the march and each king and each city were making their preparations to decide what they should do to defend against the threat of the oncoming army of the Israelites.

For most of the cities, they band together, developing an alliance so that they will try to fight against the Israelites. That won’t go well.

But in the case of the city of Gibeon, they decide instead to fool the Israelites, making it look like they have come from a long way away, presumably outside of Canaan. They put on worn out clothes and worn out sandals. They bring dry, moldy bread with them, and they have wine in old, cracked wineskins. The Gibeonites make it look like they have come from far away, beyond where even the Israelites would know where they are from.

Their aim is to write a treaty with the Israelites so that they won’t come to attack them. And their trick works! All it takes to fool the leaders of Israel is to have them taste some of their bread and wine. Israel believes that they are from far away and now they write a treaty with the Gibeonites.

The Israelites didn’t, however, ask God anything about the Gibeonites:

The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD.

Joshua 9:14

They have the ability to do it. God speaks to them. They have prayed when they were in trouble. They have called out to God when they are in need. But now, it seems that the Israelites feel that they are in charge. It seems that they are sensing that they are pushing forward, but now they do it by their own physical senses, their own sight. And their own sight fools them.

Instead of looking to God…instead of looking to the one who truly can see what is going on and who will be leading them, the Israelites depend on themselves. They sign the treaty based on their own understanding instead of depending on God and his wisdom.

The result is the first step in the direction of the ruin of the Israelites. The foreign people, and most importantly, their foreign and fake, demonic “gods” remain in the land. It is difficult to read about how God commanded the Israelites to wipe out the peoples in front of them as they entered Canaan, but the reason was that they should have no other gods before the one and true God, Yahweh. This is commandment number one. The most important commandment. And now, without even realizing what has happened, the Israelites have allowed the gods of the Gibeonites to remain in the land and a compromise has been made.

We have to learn a lesson from the Israelites in this case. We have to learn to inquire of the Lord regularly and at each step along the way. We have to ask the Lord for his sight in each matter instead of our own.

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