The Israelites knew they were not supposed to make a covenant with the nations living in Canaan. They had been told this over and over again. They knew they were supposed to utterly destroy all these nations.
But the Gibeonites, some of the inhabitants of Canaan, were crafty:
They set out as envoys, and took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins worn-out and torn and mended, and worn-out clothes on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and had become crumbled. They went to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.” The men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you are living within our land; how then shall we make a covenant with you?” But they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” Then Joshua said to them, “Who are you and where do you come from?” They said to him, “Your servants have come from a very far country because of the fame of the LORD your God; for we have heard the 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 king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan who was at Ashtaroth. So our elders and all the inhabitants of out country spoke to us, saying, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey, and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; now then make a covenant with us.” This our bread was warm when we took it for our provisions out of our houses on the day what we left to come to you; but now behold, it is dry and has become crumbled. These our wineskins which we filled were new, and behold, they are torn; and these our clothes and our sandals are worn out because of the very long journey.’ So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them , to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them. It came about at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them that they heard that they were neighbors and that they were living within their land.
Unfortunate, right? But this could have been avoided if they had simply “ask[ed] for the counsel of the LORD.”
Likely they themselves thought they knew well enough what to do, and didn’t feel a need to ask the LORD about it. They felt they had pretty good understanding and wisdom about the situation, so they just went ahead and did what they thought was best, without getting counsel from the LORD.
This stood out to me because I’ve made a lot of decisions in my life the same way as the Israelites did. When I’ve felt like I’ve know what to do, I’ve done it. No need to pray about it. I’m wise enough, right? Prayer, for me, was meant for those times when I’m really not sure what to do. I pray about a decision when I don’t feel wise enough. but the truth is, I’m never wise enough.
This reminds me of proverbs 3:5-6:
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 your paths straight.
Notice the word “all” in both verses. He doesn’t say “Trust in the LORD with some of your heart.” And He doesn’t say to acknowledge Him in just some of your ways.
I want to be one of those people that does this—one of those people who is scared to ever lean on her own understanding. I want to always realize and live in light of the fact that I’m ignorant and stupid, and God is all wise and and ought to be acknowledged in every decision. As of right now, I fail at this all the time.
Meditation on this truth ought to be a turning point for me. I’m excited to see where God is going to take me in this area.