In Joshua 9, we read the account of the deception of Israel by the Gibeonites. Since they feared the Israelites, they sought to deceive them by dressing in worn out clothes and sandals, riding on worn out donkeys and carrying worn out wine skins and dry bread in order to show Joshua and the others that they had come from a far land. They did this in order to trick Joshua into a covenant with them to become the servants of Israel therefore sparing their lives (Joshua 9:3-6).
Well, the trick worked and Israel and Joshua made peace with them not realizing that the Gibeonites were really their neighbors living in the land God had promised to the Israelites (Joshua 9:15-16). Why and how did Joshua and the people fall for this deception. Joshua 9:14 gives us the quick and to the point answer:
So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the LORD. (NASB)The people had failed to ask the Lord for counsel. That is why they were deceived by the lies and flattery of the Gibeonites. Isn't that the way it is today with respect to the truth of God's Word. Those who would seek to deceive us do not usually come straight out and say "I am trying to deceive you." Instead, they deceive us by slight modifications of the truth so much that it looks harmless to us. But we let it happen in the same way that the Israelites did; we do not seek the counsel of the Lord which is now given to us in His Word. When we fail to make use of God's Word by reading it, studying it, learning it, memorizing it, knowing it, and living it, we leave ourselves open to this type of deception. And when I say God's Word, I mean all of it, every book, not just the verses we like. We must judge everything through the glasses of Scripture or we too will be deceived.
Why did this people think that they did not need to seek the counsel of the Lord especially after their many failures to that point? D. A. Carson writes concerning this question:
The problem is deeper; there is an unseemly negligence that betrays an overconfidence that does not think it needs God in this case. Many a Christian leader has made disastrous mistakes when he or she has not taken time to seek God's perspective, probing Scripture and asking him for the wisdom he has promised to give (James 1:5).
So how should we react when confronted when those outside and even those in our own midst seek to draw us away to following their new interpretation, perspective or activity (Acts 20:28-30)? We should seek the counsel of the Lord, just as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11 by "examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" (NASB). God has promised to generously give wisdom to those who will ask (James 1:5). Let us seek His counsel, let us ask for wisdom and let us treat His Word as more precious than gold in our pursing the truth from God Himself found in it.