Promise and Power – Message 8
February 26, 2023
I. Introduction: We continue our series, Promise and Power.
- When we pursue the promises of God, He provides the power to fulfill His
- Joshua 1:6-9; 9:3-4
A. The title to today’s message is Deception.
- Theme: Joshua 9:3-4 (NLT)— …the people of Gibeon… resorted to deception to save themselves.
[Fraud or trickery used to cause someone to accept as true what is false.]
- Joshua encountered deception by Israel’s enemies; we will see how he
responded and learn how we should when we are defrauded as well.
B. Dealing with Deception:
First, we must…
1. Ask God.
(Joshua 9:1-14. C/R: Deuteronomy 7:1-6; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 6:14–15;
- Joshua 9:1-6 (NLT)—
Now all the kings west of the Jordan River heard about what had
happened. … 2 These kings combined their armies to fight as
one against Joshua and the Israelites.
[These city-states usually fought, but became allies with a common enemy.]
But when the people of Gibeon
[5 mi. from Ai, 6 mi. NW of Jerusalem]
heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they
resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to
Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old,
patched wineskins. 5 They put on worn-out, patched sandals
and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and
moldy. 6 When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal,
they told Joshua and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant
land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us.”
[Lived 21 mi. from Israel’s camp at Gilgal.]
The Gibeonites pretended to be an official delegation from far away to meet
God prohibited Israel from entering into a treaty (covenant) with people
inside Canaan, but treaties were allowed with peoples outside of Canaan
(Exodus 34:11–12; Deuteronomy 20:10–18).
Joshua 9:7 (NLT)—The Israelites replied to these Hivites
[Gibeonites were subgroup]
, “How do we know you don’t live nearby? For if you do, we cannot make
a treaty with you.”
[They wanted proof; Hivites were to be destroyed. Deuteronomy 20:7,
Joshua 9:8-14 (NLT)— 8 They replied, “We are your servants.” [Non-responsive
“But who are you?” Joshua demanded. “Where do you come from?”
They answered, “Your servants have come from a very distant country.
We have heard of the might of the Lord your God and of all He did in
Egypt. 10 We have also heard what He did to the two Amorite
kings east of the Jordan River…
[Sihon and Og] [Praised God, not mention Jericho and Ai,
wouldn’t have reached them.]
So our elders and all our people instructed us, ‘Take supplies for a
long journey. Go meet with the people of Israel and tell them, “We are
your servants; please make a treaty with us.”’
“This bread was hot from the ovens when we left our homes. But now, as
you can see, it is dry and moldy. 13 These wineskins were
new when we filled them, but now they are old and split open. And our
clothing and sandals are worn out from our very long journey.”
[Think they are trying too hard to convince Joshua and the leaders?]
So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the
Israel was deceived because they did not ask God; they judged by (fake)
Joshua 9:15 (NLT)—
Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety,
and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a
There were many reasons to question the origin of these men: an official
delegation would have traveled with adequate supplies, including provisions
for their return home; they would’ve had fresh bread cooked by servants
(not dry and moldy) and also clean clothes.
If Joshua and the leaders had paused to think and taken time to pray about
what they saw, they would have recognized that this was a trick. (Proverbs
3:5-6: Trust God, not self.)
In haste (self-confidence), Joshua broke God’s law and made a covenant with
I think he wanted to believe them, didn’t want to fight and put them to
death, so he closed his eyes to what he saw and did not seek God for
insight and direction. (We do that!)
I think we do this also, when we want to enter a relationship—either
personal, romantic, or business—with someone we wonder about spiritually,
but we convince ourselves to go ahead if that person shows the slightest
interest, at least not opposition, to God and faith.
The Bible warns us to not be yoked together with unbelievers
(NIV), don’t team up or partner (NLT) with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14-15) [Our world says, “Go
APP.: Do you delay and ask God before jumping into a relationship with an
To deal with deception, we must…
2. Admit mistakes.
(Joshua 9:16-27. C/R: Deuteronomy 23:22–23; 2 Samuel 21:1-2; Proverbs
28:13; Romans 2:1)
- Joshua 9:16-18 (NLT)—
Three days after making the treaty, they learned that these people
actually lived nearby!
The Israelites set out at once to investigate and reached their towns
in three days.… 18 But the Israelites did not attack the
towns, for the Israelite leaders had made a vow to them in the name of
the Lord, the God of Israel.
The people of Israel grumbled against their leaders because of the
Perhaps some suspected these men were Canaanites, or because they wanted
Moses had sternly warned them against leaving any alive because of their
idolatry (Deuteronomy 7).
Joshua 9:19-21a (NLT)—
But the leaders replied, “Since we have sworn an oath in the presence
of the Lord, the God of Israel, we cannot touch them. 20
This is what we must do. We must let them live, for divine anger would
come upon us if we broke our oath. 21 Let them live.”
… [Oaths must be kept, create an unbreakable covenant relationship.]
After misidentifying the Gibeonites, Joshua made a treaty guaranteeing
their protection, which the leaders swore to with a binding oath (v.15),
which protected their lives.
Years later, Saul violated this oath, so God sent a 3-year famine. (2
Joshua 9:22-25 (NLT)—
Joshua called together the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you lie to us?
Why did you say that you live in a distant land when you live right
here among us? 23 May you be cursed!
From now on you will always be servants who cut wood and carry water
for the house of my God.”
They replied, “We did it because we—your servants—were clearly told
that the Lord your God commanded His servant Moses to give you this
entire land and to destroy all the people living in it. So we feared
greatly for our lives because of you. That is why we have done this. 25 Now we are at your mercy—do to us whatever you think is
Joshua admitted his mistake, then he acted appropriately toward the
Gibeonites by letting them live, but also by placing them in service where
they would be influenced by people of faith and the law—the priests and
worshipers in the sanctuary. [A blessing; Psalm 84:10]
APP.: Do we admit mistakes, then act appropriately toward those who
Dealing with deception requires us to…
3. Accept responsibility.
(Joshua 10:1-15. C/R: Numbers 30:1-2; Jeremiah 32:17; 1 Corinthians
7:12–16; 1 John 5:4)
- Joshua 10:1-5 (NLT)—
Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured and
completely destroyed Ai and killed its king
, just as he had destroyed the town of Jericho and killed its king
. He also learned that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel and
were now their allies. 2 He and his people became very
afraid when they heard all this because Gibeon was a large town—as
large as the royal cities and larger than Ai. And the Gibeonite men
were strong warriors.
So King Adoni-zedek… sent messengers to several other kings:… 4 “Come and help me destroy Gibeon,” he urged them, “for
they have made peace with Joshua and the people of Israel.” 5 So these five Amorite kings combined their armies for a
united attack. They moved all their troops into place and attacked
[Amorites included giants.]
They wanted to recover this large, powerful, former ally, even if had to be
taken by force.
Joshua 10:6-8 (NLT)—
The men of Gibeon quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in
Gilgal. “Don’t abandon your servants now!” they pleaded. “Come at once!
Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill
country have joined forces to attack us.”
[The one you unwisely agreed to help, will always call on you—and quickly!]
So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal
and set out for Gibeon. 8 “Do not be afraid of them,” the
Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them.
[past tense] Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.” [God
had decided the outcome, but the fighting remained! Like struggles in our
When we make a mistake to partner with an unbeliever—even in a marriage—we
must accept responsible toward that person—no unfair dissolution or
divorce. (1 Corinthians 7:12–16)
Joshua 10:9-14 (NLT)—
Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorite armies by
[uphill journey of 21 mi.]
The Lord threw them into a panic, and the Israelites slaughtered great
numbers of them at Gibeon. Then the Israelites chased the enemy along
the road to Beth-horon, killing them all along the way to Azekah and
Makkedah. 11 As the Amorites retreated down the road from
Beth-horon, the Lord destroyed them with a terrible hailstorm from
heaven that continued until they reached Azekah. The hail killed more
of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.
[Hail from God (large) killed only enemies; ammunition from His storehouse.
On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites,
Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He
said, “Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the
valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of
Israel had defeated its enemies.
[lang. of descrip.]
Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar?
[chronicle of epic poems; 2 Samuel 1:18]
The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a
normal day. 14 There has never been a day like this one
before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer.
Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day!
[Did earth stop rotating or greatly slow? Did light refract for longer day?
Days different lengths in different parts of earth.]
Here’s what I know: God intervened miraculously in response to prayer and
aided the defeat of enemies who worshiped the sun and moon. (God controlled
There is room to questioning the nature of miracles, but not for
questioning the reality of miracles; our faith requires
miracles! Ex.: incarnation, substitution, resurrection.
APP.: Do you need God to deliver you from the disastrous effects of a
mistake you made?
2 Corinthians 6:15 (NLT)—
What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a
believer be a partner with an unbeliever?