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Feb 02, 2020

Covenants and Commitments

Covenants and Commitments

Speaker: James Gallaher

Category: Sunday Morning

God is a covenant-keeping God. He desires for us to be covenant-keeping people.

We continue to follow Joshua and the Israelites into the Promised Land through Jericho, Ai, the Valley of Shechem and now into deception.

Things are not always as they seem and we can be convinced to believe things that are not remotely true. We have a strong desire to believe people so we can easily be deceived. 

Joshua 9:3-15 The Lord had given the Israelites specific instructions as they possess the Promised Land - they were not to mix with the people in this land. Gibeonites knew the prophecies and they devised a plan of deceit to protect themselves. Israel let down their guard and made a treaty with them. Deception works often because of what we see and feel; deception works as our enemy is crafty. 

Genesis 3:1-7 Eve saw the tree with her eyes, relied on her feelings and that became the temptation problem. 

Gibeon did the same to Israel - and Israel found out 3 days later. You don't know you are deceived until you find out what the deception is. What do you do when you find out you've been deceived?  Joshua owned the decision and followed through with the Gibeon covenant. 

We have lost the art of covenant-keeping. Do we enter into things with too little thought? Our entire legal industry is based on getting into and out of agreements. Realizing deception makes us want out of the agreements we have made. 

In order to move forward, we have to be covenant-keeping people even at the cost it will bring. Psalm 15:4... He swears to his own hurt and does not change. Have you come to the point of regret? Joshua did this - realized a mistake was made and yet he followed through with the covenant. This meant Israel would be delayed in getting God's promises. 

Two lessons:

Lesson 1: To hear God, we must first ask God. Joshua 9:14 So the men of Israel took some of their provisions and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. All along the way, Joshua is seeking the Lord and yet in Verse 14 they did not ask. The neglect of prayer suggests pride in our own judgment. It suggests that we know enough. Anything we do without prayer suggests we don't need God and that we know better than God. Israel was coming from a place of great victory and relied on this recent victory instead of looking to the Lord for what was ahead. 

I Cor 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. 

Have you ever wished God was more like us? Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. The Lord knew a deceiver would come to dissuade us. It's why temptation comes. The enemy tempts where we are most vulnerable. We all have those places where we struggle more than others. When we do things on our own, we declare a sufficiency in ourselves instead of sufficiency in Christ. Israel did this.

Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.

David had experience with heart betrayal - Bathsheba. Men were supposed to be at war. What was the deception that caused David to stay home? What was the deception of Cain killing Abel? The two easiest places to be deceived are the eyes and feelings.

Lesson 2: Honor the commitments you have made. Matthew 5:37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. Joshua 10 Gibeon made a treaty with Israel and heard of other kings were coming to attack Gibeon. Israel honored the covenant and protected Gibeon. Do I run with that zeal to protect a bad agreement? God protected Israel because God honors integrity. 

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Submit failures to God and He will bring life to difficulties. God's grace can cover foolish decisions. We sometimes want to pay for our own mistakes. God will extend grace. To move on, we have to admit the mistakes we've made. We reap the consequences but God can bring something unexpected out of it. 

When you make a mistake, what do you do? Joshua gave Gibeon direction. Joshua let the mistake serve him, not rule him. We need to do the same with our mistakes. Bring our mistakes unto the submission of Jesus Christ. 

Gibeon recognized what God was doing. Gibeon recognized the power of God. Joshua goes to them and says you deceived us so now serve us this way. God used Gibeon in many ways after this. These people came in deception, but God used them.

Psalm 15: 4 He swears to his own hurt and does not change...

So many find ourselves stuck at the place of a bad decision - feeling like we can't move on. What have we been sitting on? What decision needs to be made? Are we struggling with keeping a commitment? Bring your struggle before the Lord. Don't be afraid to wait on His timing. Isaiah 40:31 Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

Sins and mistakes do not have to knock us out of the Lord's work. Allow the Lord to use chastisement, correction, repentance, and restoration for His glory. 

God is a covenant-keeping God. He desires for us to be covenant-keeping people. Am I seeking a way out of a covenant or letting God lead me through instead of out? There is some Gibeonite in all of us.  

Where does our own self-sufficiency rise above God's sufficiency? 

Are you struggling to keep a commitment you have made?

How have you seen God be glorified in a covenant of deception?