Something came to my mind in church one Sunday about big blunders in the Bible. No, it had nothing to do with the sermon or Sunday School lesson, although both were good. I thought about how many times God's people in the Bible made mistakes that cost them big time. Unholy Alliance began to form as I pondered the blunders notion.
Passages to read: Joshua 9; Psalm 1; Colossians 3:17
Have you ever thought that something was too good to be true? Have you gotten caught up in something that a friend invited you to do just to realize too late that you shouldn't have done it? Then you have the "shoulda, woulda, couldas". I shoulda done this, and this woulda happened instead, and I coulda avoided this sticky situation from the beginning. It is amazing how clear our rear view vision is--20/20. Looking back, we see more clearly why we made a bad decision as a result of someone else's invitation. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Joshua and Israel fell into this trap. In Joshua 9, a group of men in worn clothes and sandals came to Joshua saying that they heard what all the God of Israel had done when He led Israel out of Egypt and what happened to two kings of the Ammorites, so they wanted to make a covenant with Israel. Something smelled really bad! Joshua questioned their story, yet fell for their lie. He made the covenant, a very binding agreement, to protect them and their countries. To top it off, he made this agreement in the name of the Lord! So a promise is a promise. No getting out of it.
Let's back up a bit, to get a better picture. God promised Moses, Joshua's predecessor, that He would give Israel, the country Moses led out of slavery from Egypt, the land of Canaan. Israel whined and complained, saying they would be better if they had stayed in Egypt. Really? They wandered around in circles in the desert for 40 years because of their stinky attitudes. They were to conquer the land, literally kill off the people in Canaan, and take possession of it. They were not to keep anything from the people who lived there either. Why? Because God knew they would fall into idolatrous practices, which they did as we read much later in Scripture. Before Moses died and the Israelites were to enter Canaan, Joshua was set to take Moses' place as leader of Israel. Moses didn't get to enter Canaan as a result of his own blunder, which I will address another time. Remember, Israel was told by God to not let anyone live in the land that God gave them for a valuable reason.
Back to the story in Joshua 9. The men who approached Joshua were from a nearby country called Gibeon which was in the land of Canaan west of the Jordan River. They heard about Israel's victory over Jericho and Ai. Israel was a smaller group of people than many of those they conquered. The Gibeonites were smarter than some of their neighbors.They decided to trick the leadership of Israel into a treaty by wearing old worn out clothes and sandals and carry stale moldy bread and wine skins that had leaky holes. It sounds like they took some drama lessons somewhere. When they came to Israel, they sought out Joshua to talk him into this treaty. As they told their story, Israel questioned their story in verse 7 and in verse 8 Joshua asked them, "Who are you and where are you from?" Something didn't seem right. Did they look like they had been on a super long journey? They should have been thin and their faces should have borne the fatigue normally seen on travelers' faces. What telltale sign was it? We don't know because it doesn't say what it was in the passage.
Joshua and Israel didn't ask God His opinion in verse 14. All they did was check out their provisions.They got caught up in the props used for the drama. If they had asked God, He probably would have reminded them that they are NOT to set up treaties, but wipe out all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. God would have revealed the plot. As a result of this treaty being made in the name of God, they were stuck abiding by it. When Joshua found out about the lie, he confronted the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites just wanted to live. The people in their land were taken captive. Although it sounds good, it wasn't right because it wasn't what God said to do. So Joshua made them cut wood and bring water to the assembly at the altar of the Lord as servants. This incident caused problems for Israel much later because Israel picked up some of the foreign religious practices that caused them to lose the land God gave them. This cost them a lot and the repercussions are felt today.
Are we any different? My husband texted me one day about a Yogi,whose death announcement was in the news, was responsible for bringing yoga to America. Yoga, a religious practice that Hindus used as an accelerated means to reach Nirvana, has spread it's religious teaching throughout the United States. It permeates health and fitness, influencing the mindset of instructors today. The Yoga Alliance has several Christian instructors in it's membership. But the Yoga Alliance is clearly Hindu and Buddhist in it's teachings. The yogi who passed away said that yoga isn't physical, it is spiritual. Therefore, yoga without it's spiritual aspect isn't yoga. He was right. Why are so many Christians involved in it? Because it's good for you, so they say. Someone went to a class and got some friends to go along. Some of what was being taught on the spiritual level didn't sound like it was counter Christian. The "spark of the divine" means Holy Spirit, doesn't it? NO! Later someone who became a yoga instructor believed they weren't teaching a pagan religion. My first husband and I ran into something similar when we were in Christian martial arts ministry. There were Christians in secular schools believing there weren't teachings that went against the Bible yet they were zazen (prostrate) bowing to the Sensei, the room, flags and pictures of karate founders on the wall! I found out in the more recent past that "Os" is like saying "Namaste", translated: the god in me acknowledges (and respects) the god in you. The physical practices are beneficial, but the spiritual aspects are deadly to our spirits. You CANNOT transliterate things from another religion without serious research and Bible study; rather it must be totally stripped out from what is physically beneficial. Everything in the Name of Christ must glorify Him! (Colossians 3:17) That is why I am re-certifying for PraiseMoves next month.
How about addictions or things that are morally wrong? Have you been asked by a friend to try something? It won't hurt you, they say. Or have you been invited by a friend to go along with something that didn't feel right only to find out it wasn't? Have you found yourself in a mess as a result? Did you ask God about it BEFORE you did it? Did you try to get God to bless what you were doing, trying to convince yourself that it wasn't such a bad thing? There are consequences to doing things that aren't right. There were probably signs that made you feel uneasy. If only we would ask God about it, He would have clearly shown us not only that it was wrong, but also why. We need to be careful the company we keep (Psalm 1), read God's Word daily, and ask Him for His insight before doing things.
Lessons to take from this big blunder in the Bible:
1. God never blesses a mess! Don't ask him to bless the mess you got into, but rather ask Him how you can get out of it.
2. If something doesn't sound right, it probably isn't. Check with God about it first.
3. Make the most out of the bad situation you in which you find yourself. Since there will be consequences as a result of a bad decision, ask God how you can best deal with the circumstances you are facing.
4. Be careful the company you keep and the agreements you make. Learn from the mistake of others to avoid problems for yourself.
5. Make few promises, and keep the ones you do make.
May God bless you!