42 And Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel. Joshua 10:42
In chapter 9, Joshua gets conned by the Gibeonites, one of the neighboring people groups. They approach Joshua with worn-out clothes and dried-up wineskins, saying, “Make a treaty with us and protect us from our enemies, because we live so far away we’ll never be a threat to you!” And as verse 14 makes clear, Joshua and the other leaders fall for it because they “did not ask counsel from the Lord.”
Oops. This isn’t the first time Joshua makes a decision without inquiring of God first. He did the same thing in yesterday’s reading, when he failed to inquire of the Lord before going up against Ai (see Joshua 7:1-5).
Now, thanks to Joshua’s unforced error, Israel is stuck in a treaty with a group they were supposed to destroy. And it isn’t long before the Gibeonites cash in.
Eventually, the Gibeonites come back to Israel and ask them to make good on their treaty. Seems that five other local kings all want to gang up on Gibeon now for making an alliance with Israel. Joshua honors the treaty, fights the Amorites all day long, prays for God to extend the day so he can finish the job, then traps all five kings in one cave and puts them all to death at once.
Now, notice how God made the most of Joshua’s mistake. Follow the sequence:
- If Gibeon hadn’t deceived Joshua, Joshua wouldn’t have made a treaty with them.
- If Joshua hadn’t made a treaty with Gibeon, the five Amorite kings wouldn’t have gone against Gibeon.
- If all five hadn’t been grouped together, Joshua would have had to defeat each one individually, prolonging the conquest and delaying the fulfillment of the promise.
God is sovereign over our mistakes! Obviously, it would have been better for Joshua to check with God before entering into the treaty to begin with. But God has an amazing ability to spin gold from our goofs. Romans 8:28 promises that God causes all things to work together for the good of those that love God and are called according to His purposes.
Think about your biggest regret. Your worst wrong turn. The season you’re most sorry for. Picture it in your mind. Relive all the anguish you’ve dealt with for making such a bad decision.
Now, whisper two words to yourself:
Did you do it? Good. Now, whisper two words to God: