The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord – Josh. 9:14 NIV
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The Israelites had attacked Jericho, a well fortified city and defeated it in a manner that got the inhabitants of lesser fortified cities really scared – Josh. 6:1-27. The defeat of Ai just went further to deepen this fear – Josh. 8:1-29. As far as they were all concerned, it was just a matter of time before they will be trampled upon by the rampaging Israelites. Everyone needed to find some form of solution to the threat that the Israelites constituted.
Whereas the kings of the Hittites, Canaanites, Amorites, Perrizites, Hivites and Jebusites resolved to unite and go to battle with the Israelites, the Gibeonites resorted to a ruse – Josh. 9:1-3. They hatched a plan that presented them as people whose land was far away, and was not anywhere near any of the lands earmarked for capture by the Israelites. They gave the impression that they had been sent by their elders to come and felicitate with the Israelites on their victories and seek to sign a peace treaty with them – Josh. 9:9-13. Although the leaders of the Israelites suspected some mischief, the Gibeonites were able to convince them other wise, and the Bible says they believed the story of the Gibeonites without confirming with the Lord – Josh. 9:14-15. Not only did they believe, they signed a treaty with them not to attack them and let them live only for them to discover three days later that the Gibeonites were only three days journey away from their present location – Josh. 9:16-17. Of course they could not attack them as they had signed a treaty with them not to do so.
Beyond the Gibeonites depriving the Israelites of another portion of land, the deception of the Gibeonites did not cause much damage but victims of deception hardly escape with such a light consequence. Deception is the act of making someone believe what is wrong, mostly to gain an advantage. This is an act that is very common amongst men because of the ability of man to say or act something but harbour different thoughts. Many lives have been totally destroyed because they became victims of deception. Deception seeks to convince fellow men with acts rather than honest thoughts.
King Ahab had given the impression to Naboth that he had a plan to honour him by inviting him to state banquet and Naboth believed his deception. The honouring of that invite was the beginning of the journey to the land of the dead for Naboth – 1Kgs. 21:1-16. David in his early days was however able to avoid death as arranged by King Saul who planned to deceive him by honouring him with a dinner also – 1Sam. 20:1-42.
While Abner was the commander of Saul’s army, Joab together with his two brothers, Abishai and Asahel led the army of David. A war had broken out between the two armies and the army of Saul was defeated – 2Sam. 2:17. Asahel however insisted on killing a fleeing Abner who after several warnings to him to desist was left with no choice than to defend himself and in the process Asahel lost his life – 2Sam. 2:18-23. Joab and Abishai, with the thoughts of revenge pursued Abner and all entreaties of Abner to them to avoid further bloodshed fell on deaf ears until they were prevented from killing Abner by the people of Benjamin – 2Sam. 2: 24-28. Joab’s response to the comments of Abner convinced Abner that he had made peace with Joab without him realising that Joab was deceiving him. This belief that peace had returned probably encouraged him to go over to David with the intention of arranging a truce between him and the people of Israel – 2Sam. 3:6-21. Although Joab was absent at that meeting, he was briefed later of the meeting and its purpose. Instead of being happy about the prospect of his master fulfilling destiny, he was more occupied with the thought of revenge and so immediately arranged for men to bring Abner back to Hebron. Abner, who probably thought all was now well between Joab and himself approached Joab, not suspecting anything evil whilst Joab had other plans. Pretending to want to have a private discussion with him, he stabbed and killed him to revenge the death of Asahel. Whilst he thought all was over and Joab gave a similar impression, Joab had a different thought and plan in his mind. Suddenly, Abner was dead, a victim of deception – 2Sam. 3:22-27.
Most times the result of being a victim of deception is death which may be either physical or spiritual. For as long as human beings remain human and harbour evil thoughts, there will always be the need for caution when dealing with one another. God had observed that every thinking of man was evil, a sight that grieved Him (Gen. 6:5-6) but you do not have to remain in that conclusion. Like every other need, you can plead with God to help you with your thoughts in addition to striving on your own to avoid thinking evil. The truth is that there will always be victims of your deception and the repercussion will range from denial of some privilege, as in the case of the Israelites and the Gibeonites, to death as in the case of Naboth and Ahab or Abner and Joab. Why would you want to be a source of sadness to people and expect joy in your life? That will not be possible because a man reaps in multiples of what he sows – Hos. 8:7.
Meanwhile, it is important that the Christian or anyone for that matter avoid being victim of deception by learning from the mistakes of the Israelites in not inquiring from the Lord – Josh. 9:14. Every dealings with men must be spiritually discerned to avoid being victims of deception. This has nothing to do with your honest thoughts as that will not be enough to stop the effect of a deceptive person, after all the honest thoughts of Naboth and Abner did not save them from death. Until the creator of man returns to let you know that the thoughts of man has stopped being desperately wicked, always be on the look out for acts of deception in order to avoid being a victim, by running every action by the Lord. It seems a difficult approach to life but the alternative could actually take that life. May God lead us in all our decision making processes in Jesus name. Amen.