by Yewande Olamiju
The people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai and cooked up a ruse. They posed as travelers: their donkeys loaded with patched sacks and mended wineskins, threadbare sandals on their feet, tattered clothes on their bodies, nothing but dry crusts and crumbs for food. They came to Joshua at Gilgal and spoke to the men of Israel, “We’ve come from a far-off country; make a covenant with us.” The men of Israel said to these Hivites, “How do we know you aren’t local people? How could we then make a covenant with you?”………The men of Israel looked them over and accepted the evidence. But they didn’t ask GOD about it. So Joshua made peace with them and formalized it with a covenant to guarantee their lives. The leaders of the congregation swore to it.
And then, three days after making this covenant, they learned that they were next-door neighbors who had been living there all along! The People of Israel broke camp and set out; three days later they reached their towns—Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. But the People of Israel didn’t attack them; the leaders of the congregation had given their word before the GOD of Israel. But the congregation was up in arms over their leaders.
The leaders were united in their response to the congregation: “We promised them in the presence of the GOD of Israel. We can’t lay a hand on them now. But we can do this: We will let them live so we don’t get blamed for breaking our promise.” Then the leaders continued, “We’ll let them live, but they will be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire congregation.” (Josh 9:3-7, 14-21MSG)
Joshua and the elders of Israel examined the facts – what they could see with their eyes. They did not bother to consult God. Unknowingly, they made an agreement with people God had clearly commanded them not to enter into agreement with and they ratified this agreement with a binding oath, swearing by the name of the Lord. It wasn’t their intention to disobey God’s commandment of not making a peace treaty with the people of Canaan and the surrounding nations, but because they did not consult God, disobey was exactly what they did.
Though they were deceived by the Gibeonites into making a treaty with the people of Gibeon, they were bound by the oath they had made by the name of the Lord. The effects of this rushed decision was long-lasting as seen in Joshua 10 and in 2 Samuel 21 .
Both Moses (a man who God called His friend) and David (of who God said, he is a man after My own heart) both consulted God on matters they faced. No matter was too small or mundane to bring before God for guidance.
Moses never assumed that because he was the law giver that He didn’t need God. He made it a habit to always listen to God concerning day-to-day governance of the people of Israel and God answered him whenever he sought God.
Then came the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph…..And they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Our father died in the wilderness…..and had no sons. Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father. And Moses brought their cause before the LORD. And the LORD spake unto Moses (Num 27:1-6)
And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day: And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel? And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you. And the LORD spake unto Moses ( Num 9:6-9)
David also showed that it was important to seek God for counsel even in areas where he could be deemed an expert. He made no assumptions in battle even against enemies he already knew intimately their weaknesses and strongholds.
But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold. The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand. And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there…And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David enquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines. And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer. (2 Sam 5:17-20, 22-25)
From issues of battle (2 Sam 5:18-21; to mundane matters as relocation (2 Sam 2:1-2); from rescue missions (1 Sam 30; 1 Sam 23) to reasons for famine in Israel 2 Sam 21) David sought God’s guidance on all that concerned him.
God answers whenever we seek Him for guidance so seek God not horoscopes (Isa 8:19-20; Deut 18:10-14); seek God not your intellect or experience (Josh 9); seek God not men of God (1 Kings 22); seek God not idols (2 Kings 1:3); seek God not psychics (Lev 19:31; Lev 20:6; Deut 18:10-14).
Why? Receiving guidance or counsel from horoscopes, psychics or the spirit of dead people defile you, bring God’s judgment and lead you astray into spiritual prostitution and away from God. (Lev 19:31; Lev 20:6 Deut 18:10-14; Isa 8:19-20; 2 Kings 17:17; 1 Chron 10:13-14; 2 Kings 1:3-4; Isa 44:25; Zech 10:2 )
Sometimes men of God may mislead you deliberately (1 Kings 13:11-24) or unknowingly (1 Kings 22). They could be deceived and prophelie and not prophesy (Jer 27:9-10; Jer 29:8-9; Ezek 14:9; 1 Kings 22, 2 Chron 18). Don’t depend solely on the message from a man of God. (Deut 13, Deut 18:21-22; Ezek 14:9; 1 Kings 22; 2 Chron 18; 1 Kings 13:11-24)
Don’t depend on your intellect or personal experience or the experience of others because you are not all-knowing. (Joshua 9; 2 Sam 5:18-25, Gen 26:1-6,12-13)
Further reading: Judges 20; 1 Sam 23; 1 Sam 30; 1 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 18; 2 Sam 2:1-2; 2 Kings 22:8-20; Jer 21:1-10; Jer 37:3; 2 Kings 3; Ezek 14:3-8; Ezek 201-3, 31; Ezek 36:37; Micah3:4-7