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Error of Walking by Sight

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 4, 2021 8:00 am

Error of Walking by Sight

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 4, 2021 8:00 am

Joshua was supposed to make war on all the enemies of God. But, when some tricksters showed up in tattered clothes, toting moldy bread and cracked canteens, claiming to be friends... Joshua trusted his eyes and failed to seek God’s guidance. Relying on his own perception, he was fooled! On The Bible Study Hour, Dr. James Boice describes a spiritual warfare above and beyond what we can see.

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Joshua was supposed to make war on all the enemies of God. But when some trickster showed up in tattered clothes toting moldy bread cracked canteens claiming to be friends from afar.

Joshua trusted his eyes and failed to see God's guidance relying on his own perception, he was fooled today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce describes a spiritual warfare above and beyond what we can see the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Is it okay to lie if you're in a really tight spot or deceived to get out of a dangerous situation will face these questions today as Dr. Boyce teaches in Joshua nine were studying the book of Joshua together in our studies have brought us to the ninth chapter where where told about the Gibeonites's are not to admire the Gibeonites because after all, what would you do your and their position they were residents of Canaan country that the Jews were attacking right came from one of the mountain stronghold city of Gibeon, from whence they get their name and they had heard about what the Jews had been doing Jews a comment out of the desert and had attacked Jericho when they did the walls of the city of Jericho fell down and they killed everyone in the city and after that they went on to AIM. Although they had a momentary setback may eventually overthrew AI also and they killed everyone in our city and Gibeon was the next and this terrifying line of the Israeli armies marched what would you do if you were Gibeonites.

What they did was result to deception a decided that they weren't strong enough to beat the Jewish armies militarily. So I said well have to fool them somehow ever going to save our lives, so they had upon this plan that themselves out old clothing and they took bread that was dry and moldy and wine skins were old and cracked and then they traveled from where they live. Not really very far away into the Jewish camp and they gave out as if they had come from a long, long distance, because all of their provisions obviously worn out along the way and they came saying would like to make a treaty with you because what could be the harm in that.

We're distance friends and we heard what God has done for you and want to be friends with you in the Jewish God eyesight you know it's hard not to admire ingenuity like that. And again I I suppose, although you can exactly admire response of the Jews to the deception you can at least sympathize with it because here were these people.

Ted, a lot of soldiers met weapons I just come into the camp and wanted to be friends. They come from a distance they they look like they were authentic. It's true that Jews were suspicious at first, Joshua said to them, how do we know that you don't live near us. If you do, we can't make a treaty with you know the evidence is there. There were the sandals all worn out must been warned many many miles. There was the bread, dry, moldy with the old closed with a broken wine skins well obviously they came from a distance beside you say the alternative to believing the Gibeonites and sparing their lives was not believing the Gibeonites and killing them.

I guess at that point there was even a humanitarian instinct on the part of Joshua and the Jewish leaders of said well yes what harm could be done. Let's make a treaty with them and let them live, I say, from our point of view, it's hard not to admire the Gibeonites and sympathize with the Jewish soldiers and yet the judgment of God does not go along the lines we find ourselves naturally thinking the judgment of God on the Jews action is what you find in verse 14. They did not inquire of the Lord and so I made a bad mistake. Now we understand once reading the story what their mistake once they trusted to their own judgment as to their own sense impressions, they trusted the evidence that met their eyes.

The problem you say is not in understanding what their problem was our difficulty is not sympathizing with their understanding of the problem we would look at a situation like that we say naturally well.

What else could they do indeed all of life. What else can be done.

We live in a material world.

God is given a sense is the only way we have of making judgments is by our senses. So if we look at Brandon's dry molding.

It must be old if there are wine containers that are dry and cracked what they must be old and of the role sandals were the people that have been wearing the bus, on a long, long journey, we say you just can't operate in the world without making judgments based on sense impression, and of course that's entirely true.

The difficulty you say is that we don't live in a merely material world. In a world where the only reality there is is the reality you see that it would be entirely right to trust sense impressions 100% of the time we live in a kind of a world we live in a materialistic world are material things.

That's why most of the time since impressions and judgments based upon them, are entirely reliable. If you take piece of meat out of the refrigerator and it's a color that you've never seen before and meet and when you smell it. It gives off an older last time which you smell the cat had died. Well, it would be very foolish to eat the meat you say to yourself, on the basis of what I can say, on the basis of I can smell that meets badly that I'm probably going to get sick.

God gave us our senses to make judgments exactly like that but the difficulty you say is that that is not lives. There is also a spiritual world there is a spiritual battle going on in that spiritual world and therefore when it comes to the point of making value judgments moral decisions and seeking out the will of God.

We can't do that merely on the basis of our senses very basic terms. We cannot say this is the path that seems good to me and therefore choose it.

We have to do is inquire of the Lord and follow the Lord's direction as we find in Scripture whether or not that is the path seems good to us personally.

This is what Proverbs 356 is all about. You know how those verses go trust in the Lord and lean not unto your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Keywords and act particular advice relays.

Lean not to your own understanding. That's what Joshua learned that Jews did in this situation and that's why they were led astray to give you a quote from Alan Redpath which I find interesting. I think he overstates the case slightly when he uses the word anything because I showed a moment ago. There are cases in which is perfectly right to make decisions based on sense impression as I think he overstates that that is largely on target when he says this, at least for thinking of spiritual judgments, never, never, never trust your own judgment in anything in common sense says of the courses right lift your heart to God. The path of faith in the path of blessing may be in a direction completely opposite to that which you call common sense voices tell you that action is urgent.

Something must be done immediately. Refer everything to the tribunal of heaven. Then if you're still in doubt, dare to stand still call on the act and you do not have time to pray, do not act if you are called on to move in a certain direction and cannot wait. Do you have peace with God about it, don't move strong enough and brave enough to dare to stand and wait on God for non-wait on him shall ever be ashamed. This is the only way to out match the devil, but be very specific about this I been preaching from Ephesians and you know I'm sure that in that sixth chapter of Ephesians at the very end of this very important book.

The apostle Paul talks about spiritual warfare. He says we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I don't think when Paul says we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, that he meant categorically that there is no such thing as physical, natural wrestling people are involved and struggles that we can feel in thought and sense are present, they all are one level in which the battle takes place. What Paul is saying in that passage is it that is not the only place the battle takes place rather that there is a spiritual warfare above and beyond the things we say it is because of lata because of the fact that we need direction and back warfare.

We can't trust what we see exclusively, but we have to wait upon God for his wisdom, his strength in his direction.

When you put the teachings of that important passage of Ephesians together, they go something like this. Number one, we are all Christians engaged in spiritual battle is not something just for some elite persons of the Christian community. It's not something that we elect to get into as if there's no draft, it's just a volunteer army.

God drafted Saul when he drafts us and his family to be Christians eat grasses under that spiritual struggle.

Secondly, if were to prevail in it. We must be close with God's armor say we have to have the kind of character God gives is able to stand against the onslaughts of the enemy.

There is an offense of warfare, but there's a defensive one to not only giving but receiving were not only attacking were being attacked. Therefore, we have to be clothed with righteousness carry the shield of faith, and have the preparation of the gospel of peace in our disposal things Paul mentions thirdly were to carry the offense of weapon our sword, which is the word of God means we have to know what we have to be able to use it you have to have it at our disposal. Some people say well you know I believe the Bible you say. Well, what in the Bible you believe that a hard time naming anything they believe because I don't know it that much good if that's what your knowledge of the Bible consists but you need to know what you need understand its principles, you need to have words your head and in your heart and then with that you're able to wage offensive spiritual warfare.

Finally, at the very end of that section, Paul stresses not once but twice the necessity for prayer.

He said everything must be brought before God in prayer, praying always, he says, always in all thing is what we need. If were going to be victorious and going to pursue those things and consult God look to him for our strength. Then we won't be misled by what I call mere sense impressions. Well it's interesting as we read the story of the Gibeonites and the way they see the Jewish forces, although they probably took what they considered to have been a reasonable amount of time in interrogating the Gibeonites checking out the evidence for the conclusion they were about to reach. It was only a very short time after they made their decision that they found out there that way and Christian things. You know the face of certain decision. We don't really inquire of the Lord would muddle over it for long time that we really don't have wisdom in the matter. We consider all the evidence and that of the basis of all the evidence that we can say without consulting God after what we consider to be a long period of deliberation, we make our decision and then it's just very short time after that, we find out that we were entirely mistaken. I think that's intentional in the way the story is told notice verse 16 says after I had done all of these things then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live in the leaders of the assembly ratified by an oath must take a long, long time. Verse 16 says three days after they made a treaty with the Gibeonites Israelites heard that they were neighbors living near them three days is all it took for them to find out their mistake and yet here's an important point. They had to live with the consequences indefinitely is a when they found out the mistake were told here that the people began to rebel against their leaders. They blamed the leaders for having made the mistake doesn't say that, but I suppose that means that the people were saying what. Please, Gibeonites of deceived us. We kill them anyway. Forget the oath yet, although leaders of the people who made a bad mistake in establishing a treaty with the Gibeonites without first consulting the Lord. Nevertheless, they didn't make a second mistake by breaking the covenant which they had made in God's name. They said no. We made a covenant with them, and even though we made a mistake even though we were fooled by that even though we failed to consult the Lord. Nevertheless, that's what we have done and we have done it before the Lord and now we must stand by our word and we must live with the consequences, and so they did the Gibeonites with the people along long time minor facts God protected the Gibeonites because sin second Samuel in the 21st chapter in about 11 verses there is so little story that concerns the Gibeonites.

This was years later, Saul had been King and Saul for one reason or another, decided that even like the Gibeonites going to get rid of them and so he began to try to exterminate them. He didn't succeed, but he certainly killed a lot of and as a result of that God took the side of the Gibeonites because the famine to come over the land of famine, which are told in the first verse of that chapter lasted three years. When David was king at the time inquired of the Lord why the feminine, the answer was given because Saul's breaking both in killing the Gibeonites so David said well what shall be done. He consulted with the Gibeonites. They were the ones that have been offended and as a result of that seven of Saul's sons were to death punishment for what Saul had done to the Gibeonites and after that famine removed so you see in the leaders of the people back here said no we won't kill them. We've made our oath and will stand by, even though it may be costly, they were doing what was right in. Years later, God reaffirmed that by even judging the king of Israel when he broke the terms of that treaty. I don't know, in every case, how this needs to be applied to the Christian life, but I think there are many ways and perhaps you can supply specifics from your own experiences you get into something that perhaps was wrong for you but you said you would do it but you have to stand by you said well I I'm in a business venture but it's costing me. Well, it's all right you said was something you were going to do you have to do it you have to stand by. Even though it's costly. I guess that they chief illustration of this would be a bad marriage because of the particularly solemn nature of the covenant that is taken when marriage vows exchange sometimes Christian Mary's non-Christian and afterwards I say all this is working out. I'm in a bad mistake. God says, well, yes, that's true. That's a bad mistake but your nevertheless stay with that unbelieving partner.

Sometimes it's Christians American Christians because the other person is a Christian doesn't always mean that person is the right one. Say afterwards well. Things are bad I I'm I'm not happy. This doesn't seem to be working out the way it's supposed to work out well. That may well be true, but that doesn't mean that your to seek the world's way of getting out of the situation say the world would site will get a divorce is what the horses are four made a mistake so you're supposed to be happy. Try again Bible dozens by that judgment. It says very explicitly, the Pauline letters. I think first Corinthians, especially that a man is not to divorce his wife and the wife is not to divorce her husband in Jesus who pronounces upon that sort of thing most partially says a good divorce and remarry.

It's adultery.

That's the way God looks at it.

You say, well at least you can get out of the bad consequences of the bad marriage. Can you say why get rid of the one I don't like it but you see, all you really do. There is exchange one bad set of consequences for another Benson consequences are not the same ones but there bad consequences. All the same.

Ask the children thank you that your friends and quite often I would say most of the time it affects the second marriage and a detrimental way.

Disobedience is no way to solve your problems as I want to be encouraging to and what I want to say by way of encouragement is that obedience is, or at least I can put it this way, obedience provides a situation in which God quite often does a remarkably unexpected thing. What you see is what he did with the Gibeonites. This is really interesting. The Gibeonites were guilty of course they were liars. They deceive the Jews and they were guilty because of what they did and they suffered for. They didn't kill them when their deception was uncovered were told what happened. Joshua said well then let them live, but verse 21.

Let them be woodcutter's and water carriers. In other words ever going to be slaves. I wasn't good for the Jews either Jews had been slaves got it brought them out of Egypt and freed them from that the Jews, of all people should be involved in slavery. Other people so that was bad for the Jews, but of course was much worse for the Gibeonites because they were the slaves. They were the woodcutter's and the water carriers and go out at the would bring it and they had to carry water into one of those menial tasks and I notice this look down from verse 21, when that phrase is used for the first time let them live would let them be woodcutter's water carriers for the entire community to the end of the story. Verse 27 with the phrase occurs again notice now in verse 27 what's that that day he made the Gibeonites woodcutter's water carriers for the community and for the altar of the Lord at the place the Lord would ship the astounding people deceived Jews are made slaves have to cut and carry water. But God says that the place was I going to do that specifically is the place which is going to set up his older brother was a were slaves when they were going to be close as close as possible to where the true worship of the true God was carried for the years later, years later people of Israel were following after every other God bails in the Astor office and so forth all those false gods of the Canaanites and worship the Gibeonites whenever the last ones with their city where the older was found partaking faithfully in the service that pertained to the worship of the true God. They were blessed, for it Francis Schaeffer in his study of the Gibeonites points out that the thing that happened to them is not identical with, but is quite similar to what happened to Rahab story we already looked at Rahab was the heartland of Jericho, an immoral woman, but she had heard about the Jewish God.

When the spies came. She said I know that your God, Jehovah is the true God, the Lord of heaven and earth was a great testimony and so she left her people and she cited with the Jews and when her people were destroyed. She was spared and she was brought into the covenant community and was blessed in that relationship that's same sort of thing you have with the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites didn't have the same level of perception Rahab had in their testimony was given in the context of their deception lasts is what they said. Verse nine. Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God. That really means because of who your God is. We went about it.

We know what your God is like and that's why we come because we've heard reports of him all that he did in Egypt and all that he did to the kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan Psion King of hash bonnet on King of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtoreth we heard all those things we know Jehovah is the true God, and furthermore later on in the story they say. We know that God spoke to you through his servant Moses said he was going to give you all the lands of the not only knew there was a God thing that God spoke the minute he had done so through Moses, the prophet of the Lord in the Jewish Scriptures. That's really not a bad testimony was on the basis you say what they had heard, in part at least, imperfect as it may have been that they identified with the Jewish people and were spared no it's interesting that they were faithful to that they may have, very little understanding and they certainly came under less-than-perfect circumstances, but they came in late were faithful once they come know after this battle for the land goat goes on for many years it took about seven or eight years before the main part of the fighting was not even then parts of it continued after that.

But all that long story. Never once did we ever hear about the Gibeonites going back to the other side once they had made their decision they were willing to stand by you know if Rahab's decision had been uncovered.

Rahab would've been killed the king of Jericho would not hesitated to kill are in the moment, so she really risked her neck for the Gibeonites deception was uncovered when they defected the other kings heard about a lot together to attack the cities of the Gibeonites in the Jewish army had to go up and defend what was now their new allies so they were willing to pay a price to not only were they willing to pay the price. They stood by at least by faithfully and as a result of that, they were greatly blessed me show you some of the ways in which they were blessed here I quote from Schaefer study when the land was divided Gibeon is one of the cities given the line) was the high priest became a special place where God was known approximately 400 years later, David put the tabernacle in that city, and this meant the altar and the priests were in Gibeon as well. At least one of David's mighty men, those who were closest to them in battle, was Gibeonites that important and solemn moment when Solomon, David's son ascended the throne. Solomon made burnt offering that Gibeon was there. He had his vision when God spoke to him concerning his coming rule.

Much later, still about 500 years before Christ in the time of Zerubbabel. The genealogies of those Jews who return from captivity under the Babylonians included a list of the Gibeonites. This is particularly striking so Schaefer because the names of some of claimed to be Jews were not found in the registry.

They were not allowed to be part of the Jewish nation but the Gibeonites were the days of Nehemiah the Gibeonites were mentioned as being among the people who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, so they had come in among the people of God, and they were still there in the land of blessing many, many hundreds of years later. The point I want to conclude with a simply to say that many ways we especially we who were Gentiles are like the Gibeonites when we are talking about a Rahab pointed out that were like Rahab all the parallels are there we were ignorant of the true God we worship false gods. We were under judgment, but we heard about God. We responded so, by the grace of God were brought in the fellowship of the covenant people. The same thing can be said about the Gibeonites with the Gibeonites liars and deceivers. Yes, they were forced. They were so are we. Word of truth is not on a man's lips when I under judgment. Yes, they were they had no hope in the world, apart from God and so were waiting all rights of the Ephesians Gentiles that they were cut off from the covenant of Israel. They were without bond, without hope way we were yet we heard about the true God. We may not of heard a great deal about it may not of understood much of what we hardly heard about it in the God about whom we heard was the true God and so by that knowledge, in one way or another we were brought into contact with God's people where we learned about his ways more thoroughly. Time came when by the same grace of God that it brought us into that fellowship with exposed us to that gospel. Our hearts are open to receive that truth we believed and became people of God because of what happened internally, not merely the fact that we had been brought shoulder to shoulder with those who already were God's people, and so we passed out of darkness into light passed out from under God's wrath and judgment in the kingdom of his dear son see if you're not yet a believer in Jesus Christ you're still where those Gibeonites were before they came to Israel. I'm not saying you should come with deception you can fool Almighty God knows your hearts. What I am saying that you should come even as they came say but I don't know much that's all right God will teach you more use amateur I know how to believe that's all right God will teach you how to believe.

Use amateur. I can believe. That's right, you can't believe in yourself, but God is the God of grace gives us the ability to respond to the preaching that glorious good news safe and spiritual things, as in many other things you can't trust your senses. You can trust God and of God says to you, you can come to know the things will be all right because the goddesses, the God of truth loves you, and who calls you out of that great and eternal life of the spring father to bless the study of this incident from the history of Israel to our hearts and minds. We confess that we live by sites. Much of the time sire habits and we do it, even in spiritual things were. We know we can't rely on our senses. The father give us increasingly, the ability to see spiritually to come to you for the guidance of the wisdom which in ourselves. We do not have all we pray for those who are listening who have not yielded to Jesus Christ, and who perhaps don't even understand a whole lot about the gospel.

We pray that you'll use with them what they have her to understand the problem in order that in your own time. They might find the fullness of life in Jesus whom to know we are told is life eternal.

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