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Gibeonites, Canaanites, Hardened Hearts, and Softened Ones

March 25, 2007

Joshua 9 starts out as follows:

 As soon as all the kings who were beyond the Jordan in the hill country and in the lowland all along the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard of this, they gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel.

But 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.

Notice the contrast here: the kings of the Canaanites don’t think to sue for peace, even though the book of Joshua has established that they are afraid of these people.  Everyone in Canaan is afraid of the Israelites, and of their God.  However, only the Gibeonites approached Israel in a meek fashion, seeking peace from them.  All the other nations responded in a hardness of heart: Gibeon responded by immediately placing themselves under Israel.  They deceived them, yes, and that was judged.  However, Gibeon grasped something the other nations did not – this God could not be overcome by force.  They had a proper fear of God, and even in their deception, they respected God enough to not try to conquer his people, but to approach them and put themselves at their feet.  Interestingly enough, had they approached God in humility, they may well have been spared without being forced to be servants.  God even looks out for them later – in making sure justice was brought for them when Saul had committed injustice against them years later.  Also, notice how they take their punishment – they accept it as just, and are grateful to have been spared from destruction at the Israelites’ hands.

The other kings, however, hardened their hearts before God, and fought against him – and they were utterly destroyed in battle.  God gave them over to the Israelites, and their peoples were no more.

Let us approach God with humility, and not a hardened heart.  If God rewarded a deceitful people who had at least recognized that he was a God worthy of our fear and contrition, how much more will he reward us, if we approach him with humility without deceit. I hope to never approach God with a hardened heart: may I never again approach him as someone I can successfully oppose – someone I can force MY will on.  No, God’s will is supreme – it will be fulfilled no matter what.  The best reaction I can have is to voluntarily follow God in everything, rather than opposing him in favor of what I think is best – a course of action that will ultimately lead to destruction.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dad permalink
    March 30, 2007 6:11 pm

    Brando, I am your father!! It is amazing that we can pledge to approach God humbly and reverently, but, many times we arrogantly oppose his will for us by sinning against him. That is why we need to stay near to the cross, clinging to it with all our might. Only then can we humbly come before our God and appropriately fear Him.

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