It occurs to me that we are all flawed. So flawed, that we must always take a moment to consult the Lord before making any decision. Just this week, we had a breakthrough in one area and immediately, I thought, “Great, now we can do ___.” But right after that thought the Lord said, “Stop. Take a moment and ask Me what you should do with this breakthrough. Don’t just proceed without consideration.” Then, after taking just a quick moment, I saw that my original thought, while totally practical, was missing something…it was grounded upon me feeling like this breakthrough was our final breakthrough, not something that will continue to occur, thus creating more opportunities. Without taking that quick moment to consult God, I would’ve made a fine decision, but not the best decision. More than that, the decision God wanted me to make, also upheld a promise I’d made with someone. I didn’t immediately think about that when breakthrough came, but when I did, I knew without a doubt that honoring that was the most important thing.
Does this make sense?
I know I’m veiling the details of my example…so let’s look to scripture…
In this portion of scripture, Joshua was leading the Israelites in battle to take all of the territory in the Promised Land. After defeating several kings, their reputation was striking fear among all the people, so the people of Gibeon “resorted to deception to save themselves” (Joshua 9:4). They traveled a short journey to meet with Joshua, but pretended they were from far off…even taking moldy bread with them as evidence that their journey was long…let’s read…
So, the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord. Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath. Joshua 10:14-15
In the scripture that follows, we see that 3 days later they discover they had been deceived, but God had to hold to their treaty. They enslaved the Gibeonites but were not able to wipe them out as they were originally supposed to.
It’s shocking that after all the times Joshua had stopped to consult God on matters, and all the times he had witnessed Moses do the same, he just didn’t this once.
What I find more interesting about this portion of scripture is that right after this encounter, we read the story of the battle they faced where the Lord held the sun in the sky until they had soundly defeated a large group of kings and their soldiers.
God could have been disgusted with Joshua over the previous incident, but because Joshua kept his oath to the Gibeonites, that he made before God, God honored Joshua by continuing His faithfulness to the Israelites. Joshua dealt with the Gibeonites by making them woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community. Honoring his oath, he didn’t kill them. He knew if he did it would mean devastation to the Israelites.
There is a lot to process in these scriptures. But one take-away is this…if you make a mistake because you didn’t consult God, there is always a way to redeem it. In my life, I’ve seen that God goes above and beyond to always make a way, even when there seems to be none. No mistake I’ve ever made has been final. They’ve always been opportunities to build character, learn, grow, and remain humble.