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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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“So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them. That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the assembly, to provide for the needs of the altar of the Lord at the place the Lord would choose. And that is what they are to this day.”—Joshua 9:26–27 (NIV)
Have you ever had to own up to a mistake or transgression? It’s not fun. Imagine having to be face-to-face with the person or people you wronged and admit your wrongdoing. This has definitely happened to me on more than one occasion from both sides of the table—having to own up to something I did and having someone own up to something they did to me.
Today’s passage tells us how Joshua reacted to the Gibeonites’ admission and what became of them. Regarding their owning up moment, Matthew Henry explained, “The Gibeonites do not justify their lie, but plead that they did it to save their lives. And the fear was not merely of the power of man . . . but of the power of God himself, which they saw engaged against them.” They admitted their wrongdoing, explained their reasoning, and then said something that stuck out to me, and I believe it also stuck out to Joshua . . . “We are now in your hands" (Joshua 9:25 NIV).
The Gibeonites were fully prepared to accept whatever consequences would befall them. Notice, though, that they said, “Do to us whatever seems good and right to you." You see, the Gibeonites knew of God’s might, but they also knew of His goodness and rightness. And so, they must have believed that repenting and submitting themselves at the mercy of God’s servant was the very best place they could be.
And what did Joshua do? He spared them. And even though they became servants of the Israelites, their service was “to provide for the needs of the altar of the Lord.” Real-world consequences mixed with godly mercy that is meant to lead to redemption and restoration. Henry put it this way: “They must be servants, but any work becomes honorable, when it is done for the house of the Lord, and the offices thereof.”
I pray we, sinners saved by grace and spared by the blood of Christ, can approach the Lord daily in this same way, submitting to our Lord Jesus and saying, “We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you.” Friends, believe me when I tell you that what He deems as good and right for you is infinitely better than anything you could ever ask, think, or imagine for yourself!
DIG: How were the Gibeonites different from the rest of the people groups in the area? How did they react differently than everyone else to the presence of the Israelites and their claiming of the Promised Land?
DISCOVER: Why do you believe Joshua spared the Gibeonites? How can you apply these principles to your life and your current relationships?
DO: Is there someone you need to confess a mistake or sin to? Take that step today.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.