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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 84: Looks can be deceiving

Today's Reading: Joshua 9-11

The evening of December 6, 1941, US military personnel stationed at Pearl Harbor were operating in "peace time" mode. Sailors were sitting in incredible vessels harbored with the rest of the US fleet. The sun and sands of the islands made a perfect setting for young men and women to be enjoying themselves. Life was good. The military personnel felt safe and secure. Little did they know, the enemy was on the way to attack at a vulnerable place--their complacency and ease.

Living in the grace of the LORD is a wonderful thing. Life goes along well with God's guidance and we have a tendency to relax. We are not as vigilant.

In 1 Peter 5:8 we read these words of warning:

"Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour."

In today's passage, Joshua and the Israelites are known by their world as the ones with whom God dwells. The Canaanite communities know of the Israelites' presence in their midst. They've heard the stories how the Israelites' God has delivered the Hebrew people.

While Joshua and the Israelites are enjoying this fame, a "lion" is lurking and plotting in the bushes to trick them, to devour them.

A caravan arrives, appearing to have journeyed a long distance. Bread is moldy. Sandals and clothing are patched and worn. Sacks are worn out and wineskins are dry and cracked.

With human eyes, the Israelites make a judgment about the impossibility of threat from these people and thus, decide to make a peace treaty with them. Though at first they ask the right questions, they make the decision by appearances, by what the eye can see.

There is one line in the passage today that highlights their crucial mistake:

"(They) did not inquire of the LORD."
Joshua 9:14

Once again, the life of faith teeters on the this principle. Just how dependent on God are we willing to be? When everything looks clear cut, do we need to ask God? This passage tells us, looks can be deceiving. The opportunity might look great. The future might seem fabulous! The risk might seem low. But who knows what is really happening?

Only God knows the hearts of people and the future. Only God knows the full truth of a situation. We must never forget, there are people and spirits "lurking around", out to deceive us. Our sight must be totally dependent upon the LORD vision.

This works both ways. Some opportunity that looks fabulous might be disastrous. Some situation that does not look at all promising might hold the most incredible future.

Once the mistake was made and recognized, Joshua remained righteous. He kept his promise to the deceivers, but also put a boundary around them; he controlled their ability to effect the progress of his people.

Each story has something to teach us. Today, may our awareness be heightened. May we not jump at opportunities which seem fabulous without consulting God first. May it never be said of us, they were deceived because they did not inquire of the LORD.

Be Thou, my vision, O LORD of my heart.

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