Hard-learned Lessons

I was reminded again this morning about how important it is to seek Christ’s mind in all things big and small. I was reading in Joshua 9 following the defeat of Jericho and Ai by Joshua, where God had begun to fulfill His promise to the people in giving them a land to call their own. Through that, all of the inhabitants of the land were being overthrown and killed.

As it turns out, the inhabitants of Gibeon heard the news (as this kind of news would travel far and wide fast) and decided to trick Joshua and the elders into not destroying them by dressing in rags and carrying dry bread which would indicate that they had been on a long, tiring journey. This was, of course, to keep them from thinking they were a people who lived in the land thereby needing to be destroyed.

Verse 14 is huge: “So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord.”

The result was that Joshua made a covenant “in the name of the Lord,” and upon learning the truth was therefore unable to carry out the command of the Lord. Though the result was not devastating in this case, it apparently caused a great deal of unrest among the people as they “murmured against the leaders” (v. 18).

Now, murmuring or disagreement is by no means an indicator of being disobedient. Sometimes, as in the case of Moses, murmuring is because you have been obedient. The Israelites constantly murmured against what God told Moses to do (which is why they lay dead on the wilderness floor). In fact, this makes it even more poignant in that troubles are going to be present even when we do seek God’s counsel…we certainly don’t need to make matters worse by being disobedient!

I realized anew just how many problems can be avoided simply by taking some extra time to seek God’s counsel. I found it interesting that God remained silent. Joshua and the boys worked through the deliberation of whether or not to accept the provisions from the disguised enemy and enter into a binding covenant without ever even considering what God wanted. They simply weighed the “pros and cons” and came up with what they considered the best action without ever asking God and God stood by silently and let them make the mistake.

How many times has God stood silent in order to teach me the importance of asking for His counsel. Though it may sound somewhat unkind for God to stand by and let them fail, I have done the very same thing with my own son. There have been times when I have let him make a bad decision without correcting him in order to teach him the lesson of where pride will take you. Had he asked, I would have most certainly helped.

This reminds me that God is a loving Father, but I must humbly bring Him into every decision in order to find the wisdom He has to offer. I wonder if Joshua learned his lesson completely. I wonder, too, if I ever will.