Getting Expert Advice Joshua 9:1-26
Most of the time when you and I are facing a situation, or a dilemma that is out of our range of expertise we consult an expert in that area. When we don’t, we often stand much like the guy that says that it is too expensive to call a plumber and the next thing you know water is spewing uncontrollably out of the sink from the attempted self-repair. Who here would try to perform a surgery on themselves? Do we have any self-made dentist among us? Who here would attempt to file their own taxes without the help of Turbo tax, or an accountant? Who would invest their entire life savings without the help of an investor?
We turn to so many experts for advice, guidance, direction and answers and yet when it comes to real direction in our own lives, we really seldom seek God’s advice. Joshua made the same mistake in chapter 9. Joshua has just concluded an intensive time of leading the Israelites in worship. They reviewed the covenant, read the books of the law, offered sin sacrifices and fellowship offerings. However, after the great victory over Ai and a great time of worship Joshua fails to get to get expert advice. It is often time when we think that we are at our spiritual best that we fail to simply seek advice from God.
I. Seek God’s Approval v. 14 Verse 14 indicates that Joshua failed to get God’s approval. The Israelites made a treaty with the Gibeonites without enquiring about them from God. Joshua assumes that they are on the up and up. He has looked with human logic to confirm his decision. Joshua has looked at the moldy bread, the cracked wine skins, tattered clothing and their worn-out sandals. Joshua has made the same mistake that you and I often make; he has used his own judgement and external signs to make a decision.
Sometimes all of the earthly signs are right. The price is right, the timing is right, it feels right, friends suggest it, but it is not God’s will for our life. We never know because we do not seek God’s approval. How many decisions have we made just this week without really consulting God? When we need expert advise we go to the experts such as plumbers, doctors and accountants. Who better to go for advice than the very one who created us? Who better than the one who laid His life down for us? F.B. Meyers stated, “Before entering into any alliance, taking a partner in life, going into business with another, yielding assent to any proposition which involves confederation with others – be sure to ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord. He will assuredly answer by an irresistible impulse – by the voice of a friend; by a circumstance strange and unexpected; by a passage of scripture. He will choose His own messenger, but he will send a messenger.” Archbishop Trench maintained, “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance; it is laying hold of his highest willingness.”
II. Seek God’s Answers v.7-13 Not only does Joshua not seek approval from God; he doesn’t seek his answers from God. He seeks his answers from outside sources. Joshua makes a couple of poor decision. He tries to ascertain the answers himself. He tries to use own human logic. He gets his answer by looking at earthly signs instead of asking God for answers. Secondly, he was seeking answers from man and not God. It seems that today everyone is an expert in something. All too often we seek answer answers from sources other than God. We decide where to go to school based upon reports, or counselor’s wishes. We decide what we can buy based on a mortgage broker. It isn’t a sin to get information from earthly sources and often the information can help us pray more specifically, but the final answer should rest with God.
III. Resist becoming comfortable Accepting your own answers v. 15 When you and I continue to avoid getting approval and answers from God; we grow very comfortable accepting our own answers and decisions. Joshua accepts the new relationship with the Gibeonites. He has now entered into a relationship with people who were to be destroyed; people who were not of God. Now, there will always have to be a provision made for the Gibeonites. They will always occupy a slice of the Promised Land.
The less we seek God’s will the more comfortable we get accepting our own decisions, our own ways, and our own thoughts; It becomes so easy to embrace our own logic and our own decisions. Perhaps acceptance of our own answers has become so easy and so second nature that we hardly give praying for God’s will a second thought. How long has it been since you have made a major decision by prayer and seeking God’s will? Often, we make decisions by coming up resolution that we can accept.
IV. Consider the possible Aftermath of not seeking God’s will v. 16-23 What is the aftermath of not seeking God’s approval, God’s answers and leaning into our own understanding and accepting it? When we do not consider the possible aftermath of not seeking God’s will it leads to bad decisions. Joshua accepted his own decision because he based his decision. The Gibeonites bread was moldy, their wine skins were cracked, their clothes were tattered, but this was a deception that led Joshua to making a very bad decision.
Joshua’s choice brought about descension from the people. Joshua’s decision brought about grumbling by the people. Sometimes our decisions affect a community, a family, or a church. Accepting our own decisions rather than God’s will brings about disobedience in the life of a believer. Joshua’s decision allowed inhabitants to live in Canaan that should have been destroyed. They would always have a presence in the land of the people of God.
This week as we walk in our journey, let’s remember that the greatest decision that we can make is to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior because of his atoning sacrifice on the cross for our sins. As we seek to follow Christ in obedience let’s think about getting some expert advice by: seeking God’s approval, seeking God’s answers, not becoming comfortable with accepting our own will, and considering the possible aftermath of not seeking God’s will.