Always Inquire Of God

. . . when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to a ruse . . .  They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal . . .  "We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us."
The Israelites said to the Hivites, "But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?"  . . . 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 . . . "We are your servants; make a treaty with us." ' 
The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath. Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them.  . . . But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them . . . So Joshua saved them from the Israelites . . .  That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers . . .   Joshua 9:3-27

God had specifically instructed the Israelites to spare no one as they conquered the Promised Land. All the inhabitants were to be killed off to cleanse the land of sin and idolatry. God did not want His people to be entangled with nations that worshipped other gods.

However, the Gibeonites resorted to deception in order to spare their lives. They wore old tattered clothes, put worn-out sandals on their feet, packed molded and dry bread, and convinced Joshua and the leaders that they had traveled from afar to seek a peace treaty with them. Joshua and the leaders were skeptical of their story but gave in after they had examined their moldy and dry provisions. They swore an oath in the name of the LORD and made a peace treaty with them.

Three days later, the Israelites discovered that the Gibeonites had elaborately deceived them. They were next-door neighbors! Joshua and the Israelites could not destroy them because they had sworn in the name of the LORD to spare the Gibeonites.

What I find to be most striking is not so much the elaborate ruse of the Gibeonites but rather the simple statement, "The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD." That is particularly surprising given the godliness and excellent leadership of Joshua! How could Joshua enter a treaty on behalf of God's people without consulting with God? It is also worth noting that the very next battle the Israelites fought was to protect the Gibeonites from the surrounding kings who sought to attack them because of their peace treaty with Israel.

There is a lesson here: It is easy for even the most godly and obedient person to be deceived by the enemy if they do not take time to inquire of the LORD. Always inquire of God. Continually seek God!
Prayer: Lord, I confess that there have been many times when I have failed to inquire of you. Please help me to seek your mind in all my undertakings. Amen.