Focal passage: Joshua 10:6-14
Do you believe that God is in control even when mistakes have been made and enemy forces seem to be lining up against you? Today’s lesson is about a commitment Joshua kept even though he had been deceived. Without God’s miracle, his commitment to the Gibeonite tribe could have cost him everything.
In chapter 9 we hear of the great deception. The clever men of Gibeon approached Joshua as an impoverished and distant people who pledged to be Joshua’s servants. The compassionate Joshua trusted when he should have verified. The result was a peace treaty forged between Israel and Gibeon whereby Joshua promised protection.
Fast forward to chapter 10 and we have five Amorite kings committed to a fight against Gibeon, leaving Joshua caught between a “rock and a hard place.” While many leaders would have dishonored their commitment since there was nothing in it for themselves, Joshua honored his deal. Furthermore, and this is key, God told Joshua to not be afraid, He had already ordained victory (v. 8).
The victory God provided was miraculous on many levels. God threw the enemy into confusion (v. 10). Large hailstones killed more of the enemy than the sword (v. 11). And God caused the sun to “stand still,” elongating the day so the battle could be completed (vv. 12-13).
Keeping commitments, in battle and in life, is a huge responsibility. It gets personal. Well over a decade ago my wife’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Her husband had made a marital commitment of caring for her in the good and the bad times. The remaining years of her life would become progressively difficult. But my wife’s father took care of her and loved her to the very end.
Life is not perfect. Troubles, deceptions and unwise pledges happen. Joshua could have revoked this contract or retaliated on Gibeon. People do it all the time. They don’t keep their commitments because they don’t consider God to be an indispensable part of their life.