“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… So… 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. At the end of three days.., they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them.” Joshua 9:3-9,11-16
Deception wears a variety of costumes, but they all come from the devil’s closet. In this case, words and looks played the biggest part, and accompanying manipulated emotions swayed the gullible audience. The more convincing the false script and props, the less reason to consult with the Director. The enemy knows how to touch our weak places, and does it with wily craft, always with the intent to veer us astray.
What do external deceptions look like, and how do they influence our thinking and actions? Narratives convince by carefully chosen examples and statistics, but may lack context, or complete or complementary facts. It is vital we thoughtfully consider all angles and consult with the Lord before making decisions. Enticing appeals allure our senses by promising fulfillment, fancy, and freedom. We must take care to hone the long view, and be prudent to eschew the temporal for the lasting. (Hebrews 11:25)
We can also deceive ourselves by yielding to self-appointed desires or looking for affirmation only of what we want to be true, while refusing truth that corrects, hurts, or requires transformation. Giving in to any deceit can leave Gibeonite consequences for a lifetime, but Jesus stands ready to help and redeem. (Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 16:1-4; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12,16)
Lord, keep me stable in Your word, and steady on Your straight path. Help me defeat the enemy’s deceit with all its enticements by treasuring Your wisdom above all.