Strong and Courageous | Day Ten
By: Kate Downing
Click here to type in the answers for today's study.
I really wish time machines existed. If I had such a contraption, I would go back in time and keep myself from doing the stupid things that ended up causing me regret. What would you go back and keep yourself from doing or saying if they were real? Is it because what you did or said caused you regret?
We may not be able to go back in time, but we can learn from the mistakes of the past in order to avoid regret in the future! The story we are about to study recounts a decision Joshua made that I’m sure he later wished he could do over.
Spend the next five minutes praying over these things:
· Praise the Lord for 3 things.
· Ask Him to teach you about Himself today through His Word.
· Ask Him to help you avoid regret by always seeking His wisdom.
Yesterday, we studied chapter eight where the people faced their fear of defeat and conquered the city of Ai. What we didn’t read was the last few verses of chapter six where we are told that after the victory over Ai, Joshua read the Law aloud to the entire people of Israel. After hearing the Law, the people affirmed that they would follow the Law to the honor of God. Today, we enter into chapter nine where the people’s commitment to the Law is tested.
Read Joshua 9:1-6.
How did most of the kings of the land respond to news of the defeat of Jericho and Ai (vs. 2)?
How did the people of Gibeon respond (vs. 3-6)?
What lengths did the “delegation” go to in order to make their story believable?
Read Joshua 9:7-13.
What was the story this delegation gave to Joshua? Did it sound believable?
Though they claimed to be from a far country, they were in fact from just down the road. Gibeon was only a few miles from where the Israelites were camped.
Read Joshua 9:14-15.
How did the men (rulers) of Israel respond to the delegation’s story?
What important note is included in verse fourteen about how they made their decision?
The rulers of Israel, Joshua included, didn’t even mention this to God? WHAT? They had just finished reading the Law--which states that they are to seek God’s counsel in every decision. Yet, they trusted the delegations worn out sandals instead of seeking God and made a decision that would affect their futures forever.
It’s easy to read this story and judge Joshua and the rulers of the Israelites for their naïve, but the reality is this: I’m guilty of the same thing. (And, I bet you are as well!) It’s easy to trust our eyes, to feel like we are making an informed decision based on what we see or hear, but making a big decision without seeking God’s counsel often leads to regret. That is the case for Joshua.
Read Joshua 9:16-18.
How do you think Joshua and the rulers of Israel felt when they found out that they had been duped?
How did the Israelite people under the authority of these rules react to the news (vs. 18)?
Joshua and the rulers failed to seek God’s wisdom in this big decision and as a result, they had to honor their covenant and not conquer the Gibeonites. They also had to deal with all the Israelites complaining against them. Regret must have been heavy on their hearts.
Living strong and courageous does not mean living independently of God’s counsel. It actually means just the opposite. Making big decisions independent of God’s direction more often than not lead to regret. We cannot live strong and courageous if we are weighed down by regret. We have the opportunity to learn from Joshua’s mistake and not fall into the same trap of trusting our own judgment over God’s.
Seeking God’s wisdom doesn’t mean you have to get God’s approval before you do every little thing involved in your day. It means that in the big things, you should seek His wisdom before you look to your own.
Here are some simple questions to help you determine if you are acting in His wisdom or your own:
· Would saying “yes” or “no” to this dis-honor God in any way?
· What is my motivation in wanting to say “yes” or “no”?
· Is it spiritually, social, and financially wise for me to make this decision?
What decisions are you currently facing? Ask yourself and pray over the above questions for the next few minutes. Ask the Lord to give you clear, undeniable wisdom and direction.
Complete this sentence and write it down in your notes or on your phone: