The people of Gibeon had heard about what happened to Ai and Jericho and were afraid for their lives. They decided to lie to Israel about their true identity in order to trick them into a peace treaty, ensuring their safety under Israel’s occupation of their land.
Joshua accepted their story and entered into an agreement that the people of Gibeon would be slaves of Israel; he did not consult the Lord first. A few days later, Israel found out that the Gibeonites had lied, but they could not attack them because they had sworn by the Lord not to hurt them.
The Israelites grumbled about this, but the leaders would not budge.
We promised them in the presence of the God of Israel. We can’t lay a hand on them now. But we can do this: We will let them live so we don’t get blamed for breaking our promise.
I admire the fact that even though they had stumbled once, they did not give up obeying the Lord, EVEN THOUGH it would have been so much easier to get out of it by committing just “one more baby sin”. I’m sure that if it were me, my first instinct would be to go back on my word because that’s so much easier than choosing the hard way. Israel learned immediately from their mistakes and made the right decision the next chance they got.
It’s never too late to repent and start obedience again. The Lord does not give us victory because we have a perfect record of obedience. He keeps his promises to us to give us victory because HE is perfect and loves us perfectly – His kindness and mercy toward us reminds us who he is and who we are in him. We are wretched, constant grumblers like the Israelites. But it’s never too late to begin again.
Dear Lord, forgive my vacillations, between you and myself. I will always return to you, no matter how many bad mistakes I have made, as long as you give me breath it is not too late to repent and begin fresh. That is the gift you give in Jesus – that we can turn to you and renounce our old ways.