Faithlife Sermons

A Call to Integrity

Strong and Courageous  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 16 views

After renewing the convenant with God, Israel made a treaty in their own wisdom. Yet, when tested, Israel fulfilled their bargain, thus demonstrating integrity.

Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

A Call to Integrity

Let’s start with a hypothetical question. Let’s say you are out in the county and you approach a crossroads. You see a stop sign for your direction. You can also see for miles in every direction. There’s not another car in sight. You are the only car at this intersection at this time. There is absolutely zero chance that another car will be anywhere near you when you get to the intersection. The question is this, do you stop? Or do you just slow down? Or do you “California” stop? Or do you just blow off the sign all together and continue on your merry way?
That question is more than just hypothetical to me. The first church I pastored was a very rural church. And we had just such an intersection. And while I couldn’t see anyone anywhere as I pulled up and stopped, one of my deacons congratulated me later because I had stopped. He had seen me. I was so glad I stopped at the sign. I had considered blowing it off. I was running late. Nevertheless, I stopped.
You may be wondering what in the world that has to do with Joshua. Let me make the connection for you now.
C.S. Lewis once said, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines integrity as “ 1 the quality of having strong moral principles.
2 the state of being whole.
▶ the condition of being unified or sound in construction.
▶ internal consistency or lack of corruption in electronic data.
You see, to act with integrity is to be consistent in our actions. Having integrity means I keep my word. It means my actions won’t change because circumstances change. The best example of integrity I can think of is God Himself.
You see, to act with integrity is to be consistent in our actions. Having integrity means I keep my word. It means my actions won’t change because circumstances change. The best example of integrity I can think of is God Himself.
You see, to act with integrity is to be consistent in our actions. Having integrity means I keep my word. It means my actions won’t change because circumstances change. The best example of integrity I can think of is God Himself.
Romans 5:8 ESV
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God’s love was consistent. It was and is the same. His love is so complete that it was DEMONSTRATED by His one and only Son dying on a cross. That’s integrity. That’s meaning what you say. That’s living what you claim to believe. And I wanted to start out this morning defining integrity, because as we dig into this next scene in the book of Joshua, we’re going to see someone with absolutely now integrity demand that another maintain perfect integrity. It is quite the story.

Strong and Courageous

I’ll remind you that we have been looking at the book of Joshua this summer in a series we titled “Strong and Courageous”. We have worked through Joshua taking the reigns of leadership of the nation, the nation miraculously entering the Promised Land, the fall of Jericho, the sin of Achan, the fall of Ai, and, last week, the renewal of the covenant with God. We looked at how Scripture was central to that renewal and I challenged you to let Scripture be your guide for all areas of life, including worship. Yes, Joshua had the nation pause in their conquest of the Promised Land to worship, but as we come to our story today, we will see the battle will come to them. They don’t have to go find the fight this time.
Before I continue let me say that these 2 chapters in Joshua are not limited to the theme of integrity. Please understand that I am not mining the full depths of what is here today. Instead, I believe God would have us learn this one lesson today. If I were to preach on this passage again, God could lead me in many different directions. There is much here. So, I am going to read a few verses and demonstrate how integrity is part of those verses and then move on through the whole story. We won’t read all of chapters 9 and 10 this morning. Take those chapters as your homework. So, let’s look at a couple examples of integrity beginning in
Joshua 9:1–2 ESV
As soon as all the kings who were beyond the Jordan in the hill country and in the lowland all along the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard of this, they gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel.
Josh 9:1-2

A Call to Integrity

The word is out. Joshua is leading Israel to take the land. Jericho was a might city and it fell, so all the other kings decided to make a pact. Jericho and Ai fell alone, maybe they could survive together. 6 city states banded together to try and stop what God was up to. But, remember, God told Joshua that they were to be defeated because of their own sin. The battle is brewing. These 6 decide to make a pact. But there was another who did not band together with these 6.
Josh 9:3-
Joshua 9:3–5 ESV
But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly.

A Call to Integrity

Gibeon plans carefully to deceive Joshua and Israel. They get old clothes and moldy bread to make it look like they had been traveling for weeks. They put on sandals that had been patched like they had been walking for a long time. They planned their deception very carefully. No detail was left out. They looked like they had been on the road for a long time. The whole reason was because they had heard what happened at Jericho and Ai. Rather than play the victim or join the rebellion, they decided to try deceit. Remember, the point today is integrity, but that is not what Gibeon is about. After careful planning, they bring the lie to Joshua and the leaders of Israel.
Joshua 9:6–13 ESV
And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.” But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?” They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants. Come now, make a covenant with us.” ’ Here is our bread. It was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey on the day we set out to come to you, but now, behold, it is dry and crumbly. These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.”
Josh 9:14-15

A Call to Integrity

The lie goes from what they are wearing and carrying to what they are saying. And they heap it on deep! The leaders are initially suspicious, but they give up their doubts with the visual evidence. Notice how the Gibeonites used God to help advance their lie. They came because they had heard of the name of the Lord God of Israel. So, between pretending to fear God and some worn out clothes, shoes, and wineskins and some moldy bread, they begged the Israelites to make a treaty with them. There is no integrity here, just lies upon lies. We would hope that God’s chosen people would see through this mess, that they would ask for God’s wisdom before making any treaties. Let’s read on
Joshua 9:14–15 ESV
So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. And 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 9:14–15 ESV
So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.
Josh

A Call to Integrity

The worst phrase in this whole story for me is there in verse 14. They did not ask counsel from the Lord. Remember? The Lord had told them to go and conquer all the people of the land. The Lord had told them to spare no one. The Lord had promised them all the spoil of the land. And here, in the land, they don’t ask for counsel from the Lord. Do you see the problem? And even more concerning to me is the fact that they had just renewed the covenant a few days before! Imagine the conversation:
Lord, we promise to obey.
We understand the blessings that come with obedience.
We understand the curse that comes from disobedience.
We commit our very lives to you.
Well, except may this little treaty we’re going to make without you.
They didn’t seek the Lord and Joshua listened to his leaders and made a peace treaty with the Gibeonites based on lies. They promised not to harm the Gibeonites. They swore no harm would come to them. Now look at what happens next
Joshua 9:16–17 ESV
At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them. And the people of Israel set out and reached their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim.
Joshua 9:16–20 ESV
At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them. And the people of Israel set out and reached their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. But the people of Israel did not attack them, because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders. But all the leaders said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them. This we will do to them: let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath that we swore to them.”
Joshua 9:16 ESV
At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them.
Josh 9:16-

A Call to Integrity

Josh 9:

A Call to Integrity

WHAT? You are exactly what we originally thought! You lied to us. In most civil courts, if a contract is entered based on deception, the contract becomes null and void. We would not blame Joshua and Israel if they chose to go ahead and take those cities. But Joshua knew that he had made an oath before God. And even if it was based on lies, he was going to live up to his oath. Do you see the stark contrast between Joshua and the leaders of Israel and the Gibeonites? On the one hand we have lies and on the other faithfulness. We have deceit and integrity. Israel did not conquer Gibeon. They passed by the cities. The people of Israel mumbled about it, but Joshua and the leaders maintained their leadership with integrity.
When it comes to leadership, integrity is so important. When a leader tells you he is going to do something, he needs to follow through and do it. If a leader doesn’t keep his word, why would you follow him at all? If he left this person out to dry, won’t he do the same to you? Joshua knew that his leadership depended on the trust of the people under him. And the best way to keep that trust is to act with integrity in every area. So, he promised the Gibeonites he would not attack and he didn’t attack.
But that is not to say the Gibeonites got off scot free. Joshua confronts them with their lies and punishes them for lying by making them slaves of Israel. Look at
Joshua 9:27 ESV
But Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to this day, in the place that he should choose.
The Gibeonites were going to serve Israel for the rest of their days. And we could end the story here, but there is more. Gibeon did not resent their servitude. They embraced it. They said they were happy to serve Israel as long as they could enjoy Israel’s protection. And they were going to need that protection very soon...
Joshua 10:1–6 ESV
As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were warriors. So Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, “Come up to me and help me, and let us strike Gibeon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel.” Then the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered their forces and went up with all their armies and encamped against Gibeon and made war against it. And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, “Do not relax your hand from your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.”
Josh 10:1-

A Call to Integrity

The kings who had banded together before joined with more kings and they decided to take out Gibeon because Gibeon had made peace with Israel. Gibeon realized they were in trouble when they saw how all the others were coming out against them, so they sent word to Joshua to come and save them. Can you imagine the gall? Not only had they spared the Gibeonites based on the treaty, but now Gibeon was almost demanding that Joshua and the people of Israel act in integrity by defending them! From not harming to defending all based on the lie. Nevertheless, Joshua brought his army to defend Gibeon. But this time, God was part of the plan. Look at
Joshua 10:8–11 ESV
And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.” So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having marched up all night from Gilgal. And the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword.
Josh 10:8

A Call to Integrity

Now it is not just about protecting the Gibeonites, now it is also about conquering the kings of the Promised Land. And God fights for Joshua. Hailstones fall and kill those who were conspiring against God’s chosen people. God had promised to fight with Joshua to take the Promised Land for Israel and here that is exactly what God does. Joshua asked and God even paused the day by making the sun stand still in the sky so the defeat of these kings would be complete. And as we read on we also see that the 5 kings who conspired against Israel were executed. And then, for the rest of chapter 10, Joshua conquers the rest of the southern part of Canaan.

Strong and Courageous

There is much more that I could say about these great battles, but I am going to bring this message to a quick close. We have seen the Gibeonites who counted on Joshua’s integrity. First, by entering a treaty that they not be conquered and, second, by asking for Israel’s protection. These are not a example of doing it right. The Gibeonites ended up as slaves. That is not the example we should follow. It is not righteous to lie even if it means your life will be spared based on the lie. And if you do lie, it is not righteous to count on the integrity of others. I just find it stunning that Gibeon practically demanded Joshua act with integrity when they had none themselves. Yet, we deal with that kind of attitude all the time. Have you ever been accused of not behaving like a Christian by someone who is, themselves, not a Christian. You know, they will say something like, “That’s not very Christian of you.” They are demanding you follow a standard they are not willing to follow themselves. It is patently unfair! But you know what, life is unfair. And I, for one, am glad that life is not fair.
You see, if life were fair, I would get exactly what I deserve.
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 5:8 ESV
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 6:23 ESV
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If life were fair then I would deserve to die right here and right now. But life isn’t fair, because Jesus took my just penalty of death on Himself. He died for me and for you. In some ways, we are like the Gibeonites. We expect God to act the way He is supposed to act no matter what we have done. And HE DOES. Just like Joshua, God follows through. God spares us when we deserve to die.
And just in case you think I have forgotten about the Gibeonites, their lack of integrity cost them their own freedom. They were slaves for the rest of their days. And here is how that applies to us today. If you think that God sent Jesus to die so you could go to church on Sunday and do whatever you want the rest of the week, you are lying to yourself. And that lie makes you slave, a slave to sin. Sin is disobeying God. It will keep you in slavery until Jesus sets you free.
The pictures of integrity in this section are as different as night and day. Joshua and the leaders of Israel living in their integrity even when the people of Israel were grumbling about it. And Gibeon dropped into slavery because of their lack of integrity. I’ll remind you again
C.S. Lewis once said, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching.”
But the truth is, God is always watching.

Takeaway: Instead of living in the slavery of sin, live in the freedom that comes from relying on God’s integrity.

Related Media
Related Sermons