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The Ruse of the World

Words of Faith Final

The Ruse of the World

Words of Faith 9-14-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Joshua 9

    Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things--those in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Great Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)-- [2] they came together to make war against Joshua and Israel.

    [3] However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, [4] they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. [5] The men put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. [6] Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, "We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us."

    [7] The men of Israel said to the Hivites, "But perhaps you live near us. How then can we make a treaty with you?"

    [8] "We are your servants," they said to Joshua.

    But Joshua asked, "Who are you and where do you come from?"

    [9] They answered: "Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, [10] and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan--Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. [11] And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, 'Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, "We are your servants; make a treaty with us." ' [12] This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. [13] And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey."

    [14] The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. [15] Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.


        The word was out around Canaan that the Israelites were a force to contend with.  Israel's people were on a spiritual high after a huge victory and a celebration of their covenant with God.  Two kings had suffered bitter devastation at the hands of Israel and her God. That news was spreading.  Several of the surrounding kings made an alliance against Joshua and the children of Israel. 

         But the people of Gibeon "resorted to a ruse."  They lived very close to where Israel was camped and were called Hivites.  These Gibeonites adopted an ingenious plan to send emissaries to Joshua disguised as weary and worn travelers on a long journey. They came into the Israelite camp at Gilgal with patched wineskins and worn dirty clothes.  The Gibeonites gave untruthful answers to mislead Israel into a treaty based upon lies and false impressions.  By making this peace treaty, they could use the ethic of Israel against her.

        Does that sound familiar?  The enemy attacks us today in very similar ways.  Rather than an "overt attack," the enemy will often attempt to lure us into alliances with the world based upon lies and misrepresentation.  These days, it is a common tactic for the world to point out how "close" we are and how much we have much in common.  

        The world often emphasizes that it is "not a threat" and seeks to build alliances within the community of God's people.  All that will be required is the removal of some "differences" that divide.  These same tactics are often used by false religions and cults to build on commonality and seduce God's people into a "treaty" that God never intended.

          The truth is that Jesus never intended for us to melt into the culture, morals, and ethics of the world.  The prayer of Jesus during the last hours before the cross was that we would be IN the world but not OF the world. 

          "I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified" (John 17:14-19).

         The Apostle Paul addressed the same issue as he carried the Gospel to the Gentile world.  He carefully and prayerfully walked the line of culture.  When in Athens, Paul built a bridge to the philosophers by reasoning with the Greeks about their gods.  He later wrote to the Corinthians, "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22). 

         We are not to be so separated from the world that we are of no use to God in reaching the lost!  But we also are not to be partnered unbelievers and absorbed by their values.  Paul also wrote to the church at Corinth: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14)?

            What is the answer?  Joshua and the Israelites could have avoided a terrible debacle if only they had prayed about this treaty.  Things are not always as they appear. The Lord would have indeed guided them.  Instead, they went ahead based on their own view of things.  Solomon put it so well: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).


          Lord, keep me very close to You.  Show me what alliances to make and which ones to avoid.  Show me how to walk carefully by faith, trusting in You alone.  Help me to be IN the world but not OF the world.  Let me be a light shining into the darkness.  In Jesus' name. 


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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2005, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.