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Jesus is Coming Again

Joshua  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:20
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Believing the Enemy

Turn in your bibles to Joshua 9:1-15

Intro

While Israel was at Mt. Ebal (Cursing) and Mt. Gerizim (Blessing), reaffirming their commitment to the Lord, the kings in Canaan were getting ready to attack.
They had heard about the defeat of Jericho and Ai and were not about to give up without a fight.
It was time for them to go on the offensive and attack these Jewish invaders.
The city-states in Canaan were not always friendly with one another, but local rivals can often come together when they have a common enemy.
Psalm 2:1–2 (KJV)
1 Why do the heathen rage, And the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord, and against his anointed...
After an experience of great blessing, God’s people must be especially prepared to confront the enemy; for like Canaan, the Christian life is “a land of hills and valleys”.
Deuteronomy 11:11 KJV
11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
But Israel’s greatest danger wasn’t the confederation of the armies of Canaan.
It was a group of men from Gibeon who were about to enter the camp and deceive Joshua and the princes of Israel.
According to 1 Peter 5:8, Satan sometimes comes as a devouring lion
1 Peter 5:8 KJV
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
and sometimes as a deceiving serpent (2 Cor. 11:3
2 Corinthians 11:3 KJV
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
We must be alert and protected by the spiritual armor God has provided for us.
Ephesians 6:10–11 KJV
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Please Stand

Scripture

Joshua 9:1–15 (KJV)
1 And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;
2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,
4 They did work wilily (that word there means: craftily), and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up;
5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
7 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?
8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?
9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the Lord thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
10 And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth.
11 Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.
12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:
13 And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.
14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.
15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.
Pray
You may be seated
Today we are going to look at three main points:
What the Enemy Did
What the Enemy Said
Why the Enemy Succeeded

1. What the Enemy Did

Joshua 9:3–5 KJV
3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, 4 They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; 5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
Gibeon was located only twenty-five miles from the camp of Israel at Gilgal and was on Joshua’s list to be destroyed.
In Deuteronomy 20:10–20, God’s law stated that Israel must destroy all the cities in Canaan.
If after the Conquest Israel was involved in other wars, they could offer peace to cities that were outside the land.
Somehow the Gibeonites knew about this law and decided to use it for their own protection.
Since the enemy knows how to use the Word of God for their own purposes, God’s people must keep alert.
Matthew 4:5–7 KJV
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Look how crafty they were:
The Gibeonites assembled a group of men and equipped them to look like an official delegation from a foreign city.
Their clothing, food, and equipment were all designed to give the impression that they had been on a long and difficult journey from a distant city.
Satan is a counterfeiter and “masquerades as an angel of light”
2 Corinthians 11:14 KJV
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
He has his “false apostles” and “deceitful workmen” (v. 13, NIV) at work in this world, blinding the lost and seeking to lead believers astray.
2 Corinthians 11:13 KJV
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
It’s much easier for us to identify the lion when he’s roaring than to detect the serpent when he’s slithering into our lives.
What the Enemy Did

2. What the Enemy Said

Satan is a liar and the father of lies, and human nature is such that many people find it easier to tell lies than the truth.
John 8:44 KJV
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
The American political leader Adlai Stevenson said, “A lie is an abomination unto the Lord—and a very present help in trouble.”
The Gibeonites told several lies in their attempt to get out of trouble.
First, they said they were “from a very far country” when they actually lived twenty-five miles away.
Joshua 9:6 KJV
6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
Joshua 9:9 KJV
9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the Lord thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
Then they lied about their clothing and food.
Joshua 9:12 KJV
12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:
They also lied about themselves and gave the impression that they were important envoys on an official peace mission from the elders of their city.
They also added some more cleverness and called themselves “your servants” (vv. 8, 9, 11), when in reality they were the enemies of Israel.
Joshua 9.8 “8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?”
Joshua started to question what he was hearing. But look at verse 9.
They never actually say where they came from.
They just added again that they are his servants.
Joshua 9:9 (KJV)
9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the Lord thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
Joshua 9:11 (KJV)
11 Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.
These four lies were bad enough; but when the visitors said they had come “because of the name of the Lord thy God” (v. 9), it was blasphemous.
Like the citizens of Jericho, the people in Gibeon had heard about Israel’s march of conquest; but unlike Rahab and her family, they didn’t put their faith in the Lord.
These men were wise enough not to mention Israel’s victories at Jericho and Ai; for that news couldn’t have reached their “far country” that quickly.
Satan’s ambassadors can lie more convincingly than some Christians can tell the truth!
Satan knows how to use “religious lies” to give the impression that people are seeking to know the Lord.
We need to be watchful for people who introduce themselves as seekers of the Lord, who only are trying to get something out of the church.
Of all liars, “religious liars” are the worst.
What the Enemy Did
What the Enemy Said

3. Why the Enemy Succeeded

The reason is simple:
Joshua and the princes of Israel were too quick to rush and didn’t take time to consult the Lord.
They walked by sight and not by faith.
Joshua 9:14–15 KJV
14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord. 15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.
After listening to the strangers’ speech and examining the evidence, Joshua and his leaders concluded that the men were telling the truth.
The leaders of Israel took the “scientific approach” instead of the “spiritual approach.”
They depended on their own senses, examined the “facts,” discussed the matter, and agreed in their conclusion.
It was all very logical and convincing, but it was all wrong.
They had made the same mistake at Ai (chap. 7) and hadn’t yet learned to wait on the Lord and seek His direction.
I pray we don’t make the same mistake.
Psalm 33:11 KJV
11 The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, The thoughts of his heart to all generations.
The will of God comes from the heart of God, and He delights to make it known to His children when He knows they are humble and willing to obey.
We don’t seek God’s will like customers who look at options but like servants who listen for orders.
John 7:17 KJV
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
This is a basic principle for victorious Christian living.
God sees our hearts and knows whether we are really serious about obeying Him.
We definitely should use the mind God has given us, but we must heed the warning of Proverbs 3:5–6 and not lean on our own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5–6 KJV
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths.
I pray daily Psalm 5.8
Psalm 5:8 KJV
8 Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; Make thy way straight before my face.
If this group of men had been an authentic official delegation, it would have comprised a much larger company bearing adequate supplies, including sufficient provisions for the trip home.
Real ambassadors would have thrown away their “dry and moldy” bread because their servants would have baked fresh bread for them.
As officials, they would have packed the proper attire so that they might make the best impression possible as they negotiated with the enemy.
Had Joshua and his leaders paused to think and pray about what they saw, they would have concluded that the whole thing was a trick.
James 1:5 KJV
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
True faith involves exercising patience.
Hebrews 6:12 KJV
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Isaiah 28:16 KJV
16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, A tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: He that believeth shall not make haste.
Moses had told the Jews,
Exodus 34:12 KJV
12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
But in their haste Joshua and the Jewish leaders broke God’s Law and made a covenant with the enemy.
Joshua 9:18 KJV
18 And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.
Since their oath was sworn in the name of the Lord, it could not be broken.
Joshua and the princes of Israel had sworn to their own hurt, and there was no way to revoke their oath or be released from their promise.

Conclusion

Like Joshua and the nation of Israel, God’s people today are living in enemy territory and must constantly exercise caution.
When you believe the enemy instead of seeking the mind of the Lord, you can expect to get into trouble.
Stand with me as we all pray
The alter is open
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