The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.Joshua 9:14-15 NIV
During Israel’s initial conquest of Canaan, the inhabitants of the land responded in various ways. Some, like Jericho, trusted in their defensive fortifications. Others marched out to meet them in battle. But the inhabitants of Gibeon took another route. They pretended to be from a distant country and came to make a treaty with Israel. They brought dry, stale bread and old and cracked wineskins, claiming that they were fresh when they left. Israel fell for the ruse and made a treaty with them, only to discover their deception three days later.
Why did Israel fall for this deception? They did examine the evidence and found it convincing. But what they failed to do was inquire of the Lord. God had given them the means of seeking his direction. But they failed to use it. And as a consequence, they acted contrary to God’s command to eliminate all of the current peoples in the land.
I am sure I am not alone in admitting that I am all too often guilty of what Israel did here. When faced with a significant decision, I examine the evidence, mull over the alternatives, and then choose the course that seems best. Only to discover later that God had a better choice for me. If only I had not failed to inquire of the Lord and listen for his response (Matt. 7:7). There is certainly nothing wrong with thoroughly thinking through our decisions before making them. But we should never fail to seek God’s guidance in that process.