We are to love God's Word. We are to cling to God's Word.
And guess what? When God's Word comes in conflict with something we think, guess what has to win? God's Word. God's Word supersedes our perceptions or our knowledge.
Because once you begin to reject the truth, you begin to believe the lie. Today, Pastor David discusses the importance of discernment as he continues in the book of Joshua chapter 9. But first, when you're in trouble, where do you turn most often?
Do you look to yourself or the advice of your friends? Or do you go straight to God? We want to help you experience the hope that comes from looking to the Lord when your life turns upside down by sending you Pastor David McGee's CD series titled, Lessons from the Wilderness. In this encouraging resource, Pastor David looks at one of the most difficult periods of King David's life to show you how you can wait confidently on God no matter what you're facing. Lessons from the Wilderness is our thank you for your gift this month to share the hope of Christ with others. So please, visit CrossTheBridge.com for your copy of Lessons from the Wilderness.
Now here's David McGee with his teaching, Decisions. So let's turn to Joshua chapter 9. The people of Israel have gone over Jordan. They, of course, laid siege to Jericho.
That went well. Then they went to fight Ai that did not go well the first time. And if you remember, Achan took some stuff and he hid it in the tent and God did not grant them favor at that battle. So after they repented and they kind of took care of Achan, so to speak, then they came back and they won. And so everybody in this area is kind of hearing about this and they're kind of freaked out that these children of Israel have been granted victory. Joshua chapter 9 verse 1. It came to pass when all the kings who were on this side of the Jordan in the hills and in the lowland and in all the coasts of the great sea towards Lebanon, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hittite, and the Jebusite heard about it, that they gathered together to fight with Joshua and Israel with one accord. But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked draftedly and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wine skins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves.
And all the bread of the provision was dry and moldy. It's about six miles, six and a half miles from Ai. So it's not very far from Ai.
It's right in that area. So they didn't have a long walk. But of course, what did they do? They took out and were going to deceive the children of Israel.
Let's see how it goes. We're six. And they went to Joshua to the camp at Gagal and said to him to the men of Israel, we have come from a far country.
Now, therefore, make a covenant with us. A far country. Yeah, they were like six miles away.
That's really far. So what they were doing is they were afraid for their survival, these Gibeonites. So they came up with this plan, and this plan was to deceive the children of Israel. They were practicing a deception. It's kind of interesting what we're going to go on.
I don't mean to spoil the end for you, but what's going to happen is they are going to be successful in deceiving Israel. And there's a lesson for us to be learned, but even in this deception, let's just take a minute, because, you know, deception is a very, it's an interesting thing. And part of the reason it's interesting is we're told several times in the New Testament to not be deceived.
Let's look at those. Galatians chapter 6 verse 7 says, Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good. For in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. So that passage is telling us areas that we might be deceived in.
And what is that? God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. Now, understand, sometimes he doesn't reap it right away. And sometimes we're wondering.
Sometimes we look at somebody and we think their life is blessed, but we don't know. And after a season, maybe a long season, maybe a short season, we begin to see the corruption. The seed will bring forth. There's a saying, you know, in gardening, there's a saying in gardening that, you know, One year's seed, if you let the weed go to seed, one year's seed, seven years weed.
Meaning if you allow a weed in your garden to go to seed, you will be pulling out weeds in that garden for the next seven years. And God in this passage is saying, don't be deceived. There's another passage, 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 33. It says, Do not be deceived.
Evil company corrupts good habits. Again, do not be deceived. James chapter 1 verse 16 and 17 says, Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. That's just three passages.
We could go through several more. But we have three passages right here that tell us do not be deceived. Do you know what we can gather from that is that it is possible for us to be deceived. I mean, if these verses tell us do not be deceived, then one thing we can know for sure, it's possible for us to be deceived.
I think this is really important, especially in this day and age. There's a lot of deception going on. There's a lot of New Age philosophies and stuff being incorporated into the church and we need to be careful. Because again, if it wasn't possible for us to be deceived, we wouldn't be told not to be deceived.
Are you with me on that? And let's be honest, one of the strongest forms of deception is self-deception. Self-deception. See, a lot of us think, well, we're safe because we don't wear like orange robes or have a big ponytail hanging out the top of our head. Well, most of us don't. And we're not belonging to some weird cult.
But be careful about self-deception. See, here's what happens. We get deceived. We get something in our noggin.
It rolls around in there. And then we're confronted with biblical truth, which contradicts what's floating around our noggin. And a lot of times what we do is we cling to what we think is right when the Bible's trying to confront us on what's wrong. That's a form of self-deception.
And it's a very strong, strong thing. As a matter of fact, we're told that as time goes on and we get closer and closer to the rapture and to the tribulation and to the second coming of Christ, that delusion and deception is going to be a real problem. 2 Thessalonians 2, verse 10 says, And with all unrighteousness, deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie.
It says because they did not receive the love of the truth. There we have the answer for deception. I had a buddy, he's kind of a wacky guy, but he was really interesting to hang around. He had a ministry that was based on illusion. And he could do some really cool stuff. And he could do it right in front of you. And you couldn't tell how he did it. And he, you know, like a good illusionist, he didn't do magic.
Let me clarify. He was not a magician. He was an illusionist. But he would do stuff right in front of him. And he was kind of fun to hang out with because he had all these little doodads and gizmos and stuff.
And you'd be like in a restaurant and he'd go to pay and he opened a wallet and flame would shoot out his wallet and stuff. He was a hoot to hang around. But, you know, and then when he would do stuff, you could see that I would enjoy something like that, right?
We hung around a lot. But so, and I would say, man, he would do something and be right in front of me. I'd be trying to watch it.
I could do, how did you do that? And he'd go, very well, thank you. He would never tell me how he did it. But the ministry, he would do things right in front of you.
You'd miss it. And he'd say, okay, did I just lie to you? And the answer was no. He didn't lie to you. But then he'd say, but did I deceive you?
Yeah. And then he would say, well, if I being a man can deceive you, how much more your enemy can deceive you. But if our knees are on the ground and our nose is in the book, we're much harder to be deceived. We have to have a love of God's word, a love of truth. See, there's all this stuff now about relative truth.
Do you understand what that means? That truth is kind of this little squirmy thing that you can't really get a hold of. That there's no such thing as absolute truth, that there's no such thing as absolute right, absolute wrong.
That's an amazing thing. I'd completely reject that. The Bible tells us what's right and what's wrong. If you want to know, read the book.
Love the book, love the truth. We've even got a video that's, they ask this college student and they say, you know, is it wrong to push an old lady in a wheelchair downstairs? And the person answers, we have this on tape, says, well, it's probably wrong for some people. It's wrong for some people? You know, what I think is what if it was his grandma that was in that wheelchair?
How do you think he'd filled in? Oh, he would know it was wrong. He would know it was wrong. The life lesson here, the first life lesson is as followers of Jesus, we are to love the truth. We are to love the truth. We are to love God's word. We are to cling to God's word.
And guess what? When God's word comes in conflict with something we think or something we think we know, guess what has to win? God's word. God's word supersedes what we, our perceptions or our knowledge. Because once you begin to reject the truth, you begin to believe the lie. Once you begin to reject the truth, you believe the lie. And so we are to be lovers of truth. Yeah, the story gets more interesting. Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites, perhaps you dwell among us, so how can we make a covenant with you?
Oh. Do you see the first thing that happened? Their gut instinct, if you will, was dead on. Somebody said, you know what, you guys might live six, it was a paraphrase, you guys might live six miles away. So why should we have a covenant with you? If only they had gone with that, with that discernment, that discernment that God had given them. See these guys were dead on that these folks were local folks. They had discernment that something wasn't right with this situation.
But then what happened is they kind of talked themselves into it. Guys, we need to use our discernment. This is, again, in these days, this is more and more important because all sorts of stuff on Christian radio and Christian television, and we do stuff on those, but all sorts of stuff on there is aberration.
It's not solid biblical truth. And so we need to be careful. We need to exercise our sense of discernment, especially in these days.
Hebrews chapter 5 verse 14 says, but solid food belongs to those who are of full age. That is those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. See that verse tells us that discernment is like a muscle. That the more that you use it, the more sharpened and strengthened it is.
Now the opposite thing is, is if you never use it, probably not very sharp, and you can be led astray. Now one of the things that happens here, and it's interesting, is as we study God's word, as we read God's word, as we apply God's word, that sharpens our sense of discernment. I don't know if you've noticed that, but people have come up and they said, yeah, I've been coming here for six months, and I thought my sister who was in this church was okay, but now I'm learning all this stuff about this church, and man, she's in trouble and I'm praying for her. The reason is your sense of discernment has been sharpened through the study of God's word.
And that's an important thing. And understand, it's not just reading, it's not just knowing God's word, but it's applying God's word that begins to sharpen your discernment more and more and more and more. You're listening to Pastor David McGee on Cross the Bridge. He'll be back with more powerful insight from God's word in just a moment. But first, no matter how wise you are, listening to your own advice when you should be trusting God is dangerous. That's why we want to send you Pastor David McGee's CD series called Lessons from the Wilderness. Journey through one of the darkest times in King David's life and discover how you can wait confidently on God no matter what struggles you're facing, because his plans are perfect and he always comes through for you. Lessons from the Wilderness is our thank you for your gift this month to share the hope of Christ with others. So please, visit CrossTheBridge.com for your copy of Lessons from the Wilderness.
Now, back to today's message. In verse 8, I wish they'd have gone with verse 7 and the chapter would have ended, but it didn't, so let's continue. Verse 8, But they said to Joshua, We are your servants. And Joshua said to them, Who are you and where do you come from? So they said to him, From a very far country your servants have come because of the name of the Lord your God, for we have heard of his fame and all that he did in Egypt.
They're flattering them. And notice he says, All he did in Egypt. These guys are pretty smart, aren't they? They didn't say, Yeah, we heard about what happened in A.I.
and Jericho. That was pretty smart because had they said that, you know, it had been another clue. Hey, how did you guys come from a far country and hear about it?
It just happened a couple of days ago. So, you know, and often people that engage in deception are very slick. They're very good. If they weren't good at their deception, it wouldn't be so effective. See, people tell you believable things to deceive you.
They don't, well, every now and again, somebody will tell you something really weird to deceive you, but that's more of the exception, okay? And certainly, you know, we were out, where were we? Arizona, Sedona. Now, there's an interesting place.
Sedona, Arizona. There's a place out there called Bell Rock. And people gather around it and hold hands and chant and do all this stuff, you know. And so we were out there, and I was kind of curious, you know, what the big hubbub was.
So, you know, we stopped in a gas station and asked the cashier. I said, What's the deal with Bell? It was right there in the background. I said, What's the big deal? And it's a beautiful little mountain, you know.
I mean, it's pretty. But I said, You know, what's the deal with Bell Rock? Oh, inside Bell Rock is a flying saucer, and at the end of the world, the rock is going to break and shatter, and the flying saucer is going to come out and take people away. I looked at this guy, and I thought, Please, please laugh.
Please don't say that with a serious face, because it frightens me. But he was serious, and I thought, Man, that's deception. Now, most deception doesn't work like that, because you hear that and you go, Oh. I mean, most people in here go, No way.
You know, maybe one or two are going, Really? Most deception is much more subtle than that. And this deception that's setting in here is subtle.
But keep in mind something. They're asking to make a covenant with the children of Israel. And had the people of Israel remembered, God had warned them before. Way back in Exodus, chapter 23, verse 31 and 32 says, And I will set your bounds from the Red Sea to the sea, Philistia, and from the desert to the river, for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They've been told not to make a covenant with these people. Now, the reason they said they were from far away is they were trying to, they were going to be able to make covenants with far away people.
So, but keep in mind, they had been warned. And the Word of God, it instructs us. It instructs us. It tells us how to live.
It tells us how to live a victorious life. And you can reject the Word of God, but you know what? You will not live the life that God has destined you to live. You'll live a life of bondage. You'll live a life of delusion. You won't live the life that God has chosen you to live. And as we obey it, as we apply it, we can be victorious. But if we disregard it, we will live a life far below what God has planned for us. Joshua, under the unction or the anointing of the Holy Spirit, came up with a great strategy when it came to A.I. If you remember a few weeks ago, you know, he sent a small group, and then they lulled them out, and then they attacked them from the side, and then they had somebody between that and the other city, and it was just an awesome...
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