“They did not ask counsel of the Lord”Joshua 9:14
Like Joshua and the other leaders of Israel we may act without seeking the Lord’s counsel and, if we do, we don’t wait for a response. Following the Lord destroying the walls at Jericho Israel’s leaders urged Joshua to send what they rationally calculated to be enough men against the city of Ai. They were severely routed with the loss of thirty six lives. It might not sound like much of a loss but it meant thirty six families without a husband or a father because they did not ask counsel of the Lord. Israel was humiliated, Joshua’s leadership questioned and the Lord’s name blasphemed among the peoples of the region.
Satan is a liar and a deceiver and he has had plenty of time to hone his skills manipulating people. Once again Joshua and his leading men relied on their own rational assessment of the situation regarding the Gibeonites and did not ask counsel of the Lord. They were deceived and their leadership was again called into question by their own people (v 18). The deception meant that they could not fulfil the commandment of the Lord and they would have a constant reminder of their failure in their midst.
The presumption that the Lord is with us and will give us the victory, as we perceive victory, is all too common among professing and genuine Christians. In the current attack on Jesus Christ and His church many, but not all, Christians are trying to win a spiritual battle using the secular world’s practices. Perhaps the first point of error is the one that Joshua made; he did not ask counsel of the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-12 expresses the way we should follow.
- We will ask the Lord’s counsel, trusting his counsel and not our own judgment (vv 5-6)
- We will trust His counsel even when it seems to us to be wrong (v 7)
- We will trust His counsel even when we don’t appear to have sufficient resources (vv 9-10)
- We will trust Him when He chastises us for not previously asking His counsel (vv 11-12)
The above implies that a response is waited for and received. We cannot win the battle by secular means. Joshua and Israel discovered this and we must learn from their error. Ask the Lord’s counsel, wait for His response and, even if we don’t like His answer, trust Him.