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Joshua 9 begins with news of the great victory in Ai reaching those in the area, and we see local leaders coming together to fight against Joshua and Israel (vv.1-2). Some, however, take a different approach. The inhabitants of Gibeon hear the same reports of Joshua and the Lord his God and come to him pretending to be from a distant country. They lie and deceive Joshua and the other leaders of God’s people into a peace agreement, something forbidden in Exodus 23.23-24. The biggest mistake, however, we see in v.14:
“The men examined some of their provisions, but they failed to ask the LORD’s advice”.
(NET, emphasis added)
Not seeking God’s will led Joshua and the leaders to enter into an agreement that they never should have. The people evidently don’t like what has happened (v.18), but to their credit the leaders stick to their oath even though they know it was a poorly sworn one (vv.19-22).
Joshua seeks to get to the bottom of this deception and finds out the truth: the Gibeonites are not from a far away land, but sought peace due to hearing of the name of the LORD your God…and all he did…we feared greatly for our lives because of you and did this thing (vv.9-10, 24). As a consequence, Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD (v.27).
Like Rahab, the Gibeonites came to be part of God’s people through the sin in their lives.
Like Rahab, they would go on to play an important role in the future of God’s people (1 Chronicles 12.4, 16.39-40, 1 Kings 3.4, Nehemiah 3.7, Jeremiah 28.1).
Like Rahab, the Gibeonites are a great example of sinners who come to God in humility (v.25) knowing that He is their only hope of life and a future.
For you and for me the principle is the same.
It doesn’t matter who we were (Joshua 2.1b), it doesn’t matter who we think we are (Joshua 10.2b), all that matters is who God says we are.
God had a plan for Rahab, God had a plan for the Gibeonites, and God has a plan for you. In humility come to Him and trust Him with your future and, as we see with Rahab and the Gibeonites, it will exceed anything you can possibly imagine.