Lent Devotional: Joshua 9:1-27

by Jonathan Haefs

Joshua 9:1-27 (click here)
Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.

Joshua summoned them, and he said to them, “Why did you deceive us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you dwell among us?

They answered Joshua, “Because it was told to your servants for a certainty that the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you—so we feared greatly for our lives because of you and did this thing. And now, behold, we are in your hand. Whatever seems good and right in your sight to do to us, do it.” So he did this to them and delivered them out of the hand of the people of Israel, and they did not kill them. (Joshua 9:15, 22, 24-26)

Reflection
This is one of the more interesting stories in the Old Testament, and it really doesn’t get that much attention because people don’t know what to make of it.

God had commissioned his people to take the land of Canaan. They were not to make peace with any of the lands inhabitants for they were all falling under the just judgment of God for their sin.

However, the Gibeonites deceived the people of Israel into thinking they lived far away. So, Israel made a covenant with Gibeon. They soon discovered the dishonesty of the Gibeonites, but remained true to the covenant they had made.

Covenant is the key.

Grace was extended to the Gibeonites through a covenant. The Gibeonites certainly didn’t deserve it… nor had they earned it. In fact, they were deceivers, liars, and tricksters. Why should Israel be bound to keep it’s word with such people?

Because it was a covenant and there was supposed to be no stronger promise than that.

God’s grace toward us in Jesus is known as the new covenant. It is a promise of God’s unmerited favor toward us, not because of us, but because of Jesus.

We certainly don’t deserve such grace… nor have we earned it. In fact, we could be called deceivers, liars, tricksters, and many other applicable things. Why should God be bound to keep his word with such people?

Because his grace comes to us as a covenant through Christ… and there is no stronger promise than that.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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