Major League Failures (Joshua 9, Part 4)

5. The account of the Gibeonites illustrates a basic fact about church: some people get into the church for less than sincere reasons. a. The O.T. church saw its share of members who joined for practical advantages, not because of devotion to Israel's God. EXO 12:38; EST 8:17. b. The N.T. church would likewise see its share of members who joined for various reasons other than sincere devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. Major League Failures 5-11-13 Page 6 (1) Some may join the church on a wave of emotion or because they may realize some other benefit from church membership. Their motives may not be particularly evil and they may merely be such as were called but not chosen. MAT 22:11-14; 13:20-21. (2) Yet there are others who knowledgeably misrepresent themselves and their motives, having their own agenda and ulterior designs. JUDE 1:4; ACT 8:18-23; 15:5; GAL 2:4; 2PE 2:1-3. (3) All tares will eventually be separated out from the wheat. MAT 13:40-42. 6. Israel did not smite the Gibeonites because of the league that had been made but they murmured against the princes. v. 18. a. It is unlikely that they murmured because they were excused from having to risk their lives in combat against a great city of mighty men! JOS 10:2. b. The murmuring was likely owing to the fact that they could not smite the Gibeonites, make servants of the women and children, and take the spoils of war. (1) They would have taken joyfully the spoiling of the Gibeonites' goods. (2) How many murmur against Christ when they find His leadership does not mean financial gain? (3) It was to the credit of the Hebrew believers in Jesus Christ that they took joyfully the spoiling of THEIR OWN goods. HEB 10:34. (4) If the loss of servants was a source of their murmuring, it was ill-founded: these Hivite cities were slated for utter extermination (DEU 20:16-17). How often do we complain about unfulfilled false expectations! 7. Though pressured, Joshua and the princes did not sacrifice principle for popularity. v. 19. a. Previously, Israel had plundered these people unjustly after they had broken their word to them. GEN 34:27-29. b. Joshua and the princes, fearing God, refused to perjure themselves and discredit their God in the estimation of the Gentiles. Later generations did not. ROM 2:23-24. c. This sharply contrasts King Saul who too easily yielded to the will of the people when the right thing to do was oppose them and obey God. 1SAM 15:24. d. Hundreds of years after Joshua, Saul’s attitude and subsequent actions resulted in a grievous violation of the rights of these Gibeonites, against whom apparently some in Israel still had ill designs. 2SAM 21:1-2. e. We may bless God that our Joshua honors His commitment to Gentiles in spite of the chafing of His Jewish brethren. ROM 9:23-26; 10:19-21. 8. The princes proposed a solution that would spare themselves from the wrath of God but would bring some value out of this situation to Israel and penalize them for their deception, namely, let them live, which would fulfill their oath, but let them do the menial labor for the congregation of Israel. vs. 20-21. a. David once made an oath to spare the life of Shimei, whose cursing of David was a breach of the Law (2SAM 19:21-23 c/w EXO 22:28), yet he urged that Solomon not consider himself bound by David's oath. 1KI 2:8-9. b. God swore that a seed of David would be the Messianic king (2SAM 7:12-17) and also swore that the Davidic regal line would be cut off at Jeconiah (JER 22:30) yet kept his promise to David by Christ being born of Mary who descended from Nathan, not Solomon (LUK 3:23-31) yet was the legal child of Joseph who was a descendant of Solomon. MAT 1:7-16. c. Better that we should figure out how to live with our oath than to break it. Major League Failures 5-11-13 Page 7 D. vs. 22-27. Joshua berates them for their deception but honors the agreement he made to spare their lives. He also imposes perpetual servitude upon them as a curse for their beguilement. 1. These Canaanites being made perpetual servants would bear the Canaanite curse of GEN 9:25. 2. The princes had recommended that the Gibeonites be made “...hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation...” (v. 21) but Joshua restricts that burden to being primarily “...for the house of my God” (v. 23), although v. 27 indicates not exclusively. a. Hewers of wood and drawers of water were a lowly class in Israel. DEU 29:10-11. b. Being the lowliest of servants of the house of God is better than being without the house of God (PSA 84:10; JAM 1:9), or dead (v. 24). c. The Gibeonites became bondservants to the priests and the Levites doing the menial tasks for them. v. 27. d. The descendants of these Gibeonites, called Nethinims (dedicated or devoted persons) were given a place to dwell with the Levites (who were the original Nethinims, NUM 3:9; 8:19), and a place of honor in the service of the temple. v. 27 c/w 1CH 9:2; EZR 8:20. e. The Gibeonites therefore became servants of servants of the line of Shem, a letter fulfillment of GEN 9:25-26. f. Under the N.T. all church members are priests of God's house (1PE 2:5) and Nethinims of one another in love (GAL 5:14; MAR 10:43-45) being made servants of the great servant, Jesus Christ. MAT 12:18. 3. It is interesting that the Gibeonites actions were based on information gotten from the word of God (v. 24); they had not personally witnessed the proofs of God's power to judge sinners. 4. They also submitted fully to the judgment of Joshua without complaint or disagreement. v. 25 c/w JDG 10:15; 1SAM 3:18. a. This should also be our response to the providences as well as the judgments of God. MAT 11:26; EZR 9:13; PSA 103:10. b. “It is in precisely such a spirit and attitude that sinners are to come before God in Christ---convicted of their sins, convinced of the verity of God’s threatenings, casting themselves upon His good pleasure, hoping in His mercy, submitting unreservedly to His will, ready to take His yoke upon them.” (A.W. Pink) 5. “And so he did unto them and delivered them...” (v. 26). How blessedly is our Joshua here foreshadowed: “Though the guilt of these men was established and though they belonged to an accursed race, yet he spared their lives, and that on the ground of a covenant made by oath! Thus he did what was both ‘good and right’: yea, he went beyond what they ‘asked or thought,’ showing them favour and conferring honour upon them, by appointing them to minister unto the ‘altar of the Lord’; and thus they would be taught the worship of the true God and delivered from idolatry. It is striking to note that the only ones who acknowledged what they heard about the Lord (2:10; 9:24) were delivered from His judgments.” (A.W. Pink) 6. In the end Israel received the cities of the Gibeonites as an inheritance without having to smite the inhabitants or break their oath to them. v. 17 c/w JOS 18:14, 25-26. a. The congregation of Israel suffered no injury in restraining their desire to plunder the cities of the Gibeonites and by obeying the word of God for all these things were added unto them. MAT 6:31-33. b. God confirmed their decision by giving them a glorious victory when they came to Gibeon's defense in JOS 10. Major League Failures 5-11-13 Page 8
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