The key to staying in God’s boundaries is knowing and upholding his boundaries. In chapter 9 of Joshua, you have what is called The Gibeonite Deception.
As soon as all the kings who were beyond the Jordan in the hill country and in the lowland all along the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard of this, they gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel. But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.” But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?” They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants. Come now, make a covenant with us.”’ Here is our bread. It was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey on the day we set out to come to you, but now, behold, it is dry and crumbly. These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.” So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.
— Joshua 9:1–15
1.Our enemy looks good to us.
The first thing we notice here about the Gibeonites is that they were very cunning and crafty. They lied to deceive Joshua and gain control of the Israelites. We too have an enemy with these same characteristics who has come to steal kill and destroy our lives.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
— Genesis 3:1
We picture Satan as this red guy with horns and a tail, but the problem is, our enemy looks good to us. Adam and Eve fell for this lie, and we have been falling for it ever since.
2. Satan makes disobedience seem like it is not a big deal.
There are so many lies that the enemy feeds us, and we are eating these lies! He tells us, “It’s okay to cheat on your taxes, everyone else is doing it.” “It’s okay to watch porn, it’s a normal part of growing up.” “It’s okay to lie, you are just sparing someone’s feelings.” “It’s okay to gossip about others, sometimes you just have to get it out.” But God tells us is that it is not okay! It is a big deal!
3. Stay in your lane.
Too often, we find ourselves comfortable with where we are, and it causes us to stop relying on God because we think we can handle it on our own. Notice in Joshua 9:14 that the men “did not ask counsel from the Lord.” That was Joshua’s big mistake. And many times, we make the same mistake. In that time period, they would to go to the temple to ask for the Lord’s guidance. Now, however, our body is our temple, and we have direct access to the Lord. Seek his guidance and counsel, because we can not do this on our own.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
— Proverbs 3:5–6