Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Careful In Covenant- Part 2


Joshua 9: 3- But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, 5 old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. 6 And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.” 


How can you keep covenant with God and God's enemy at the same time!

Be careful in entering into covenant.  Ask God! 

The children of Israel didn't ask God.  They entered into covenant buying the story that had been told them.

Because covenants were bonds, the bond of your word that couldn't be broken they were forced to keep covenant even though they were deceived in entering into it.


It was only after making covenant with the Gibionites that Joshua found out he had been deceived. 

Because they had sworn with their word, they could not retract their promise. 

This brought complaining and confusion into the camp of Israel. 

These were people God had promised to drive out and give the land to Israel. 
Today, we are not driving inhabitants out of lands and houses in the natural, even though yes, there are parts of Israel that one day in the natural will come into Israel's possession but we must look at this in another context- the spiritual.

God wants us to drive out the influence of the devil, the world and ways that are against his ways.

How can God do that if we are in covenant and agreement with the very things he has promised to drive out?

Joshua 9
14 Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the LORD. 15 So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.
16 And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. 17 Then the children of Israel journeyed and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath Jearim. 18 But the children of Israel did not attack them, because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation complained against the rulers.
19 Then all the rulers said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the LORD God of Israel; now therefore, we may not touch them. 20 This we will do to them: We will let them live, lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them.” 21 And the rulers said to them, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for all the congregation, as the rulers had promised them.”
22 Then Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, “Why have you deceived us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you dwell near us? 23 Now therefore, you are cursed, and none of you shall be freed from being slaves—woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”
24 So they answered Joshua and said, “Because your servants were clearly told that the LORD your God commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you; therefore we were very much afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 25 And now, here we are, in your hands; do with us as it seems good and right to do to us.” 26 So he did to them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, so that they did not kill them. 27 And that day Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, in the place which He would choose, even to this day.


At the very beginning, when Joshua became leader he was commanded to do all that had been given to Moses.

 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. 5No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.


EXODUS 23: 25 “So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. ..................... 32 You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”


What had God said?  He said, "You shall make no covenant!"  Oh my, how quickly we forget sometimes!  There are consequences for not remembering covenant! There are also consequences for wrong covenants.

  • Unnecessary battles now have to be fought to protect the covenant you didn't ask God about! 

  • If God had been asked, God would have revealed the truth!

  • Because Joshua entered into covenant, they had to keep their word and fight the battle of the Gibeonites when they faced an enemy!

  • You can read all about it in Joshua 10. God was with them and they won but this was an arrangement that was never supposed to be!

  • What you fail to possess can also become a high place in the future.  Gibeon became a high place of Solomon.  Remember Solomon was the son of David that inherited the kingdom but had many wives from other nations.  There was supposed to be only one house of worship but Solomon allowed high places and at Gibeon there was a high place.


Remember, one of the meanings of covenant is for two parties to enter into agreement. 

Covenant is important to God because when he enters into covenant he keeps it unquestionably and the same is expected of us.

 If we are to be like God we are to be speakers of truth and we are to be trustworthy!

Also there is power in agreement and power in two walking together.  What are some of the things the bible says about agreement?

Amos 3:3
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

It is God's intention to walk through life with one goal, mind and purpose in step with him! 

How can we walk with God in one direction if we're walking with another in a different direction? 

Just picture that- a splitting fork in the road and you're obligated to both!

Matthew 18:19
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Not only are we powerful when we have people we can agree with in prayer and purpose but think of the power of coming into agreement with God. 

You and God make two and according to this verse that's all it takes to be able to ask and receive anything!

2 Corinthians 6:16
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

From this passage, we can see why we have to be careful in covenant.  You are the temple of God and God can't agree with idols or idolatry. 

How can you walk in agreement with God if you are accommodating idols.  You can see this is the main reason God said NOT to enter into covenant with the nations in the promised land. 

It is impossible to be in full agreement with God and still accommodate the idolatry of the world.  Therefore it was God's purpose to drive out the inhabitants and their ways. 

Today we are to be the influences, not vice versa.

We are to be world changers not changed by the world!

We must be careful in covenant so that we don't find ourselves entering into an agreement that God isn't in or that God isn't ok with. 

We must be careful not to enter into binding agreements that are hard to get out of.  We will usually have to keep our word and suffer consequences that could have been avoided.

Now this may sound like an ancient example from an ancient world but let's just think for a moment how this may apply:

  • large purchases that take us into huge debt
  • promissory notes for friends that re-nig on their responsibility
  • covenants that involve commitments when the fine print wasn't read
  • business deals that go sour
  • marriages that should never take place
  • relationships that would never be consummated if God was consulted

There are many other practical modern day applications for the ancient principle of being CAREFUL IN COVENANT.

Remember, this is something Israel has dealt with since that moment:

  • They never fully possessed the promised land and still deal w/ the issue
  • High places were built in Gibeon
  • They fought battles, and yes, won for the sake of honoring covenant with Gibeon.
  • They had an extra burden of responsibility because they didn't ask God!

If there's just two things we can take away from this story, it is let's be


and in addition to being careful,

let's not ever intentionally deceive people into entering into agreement with us. 

That's dishonest and leads to problems in the future.  Let's not be self-seeking but rather mindful of those we are agreeing with.  With all of that said, make a decision to be:


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