Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight. Proverbs 12:22.
From Shechem the Israelites returned to their encampment at Gilgal. Here they were soon after visited by a strange deputation, who desired to enter into treaty with them. The ambassadors represented that they had come from a distant country, and this seemed to be confirmed by their appearance. Their clothing was old and worn, their sandals were patched, their provisions moldy, and the skins that served them for wine bottles were rent and bound up, as if hastily repaired on the journey….These representations prevailed…. “And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.” Thus the treaty was entered into….
But it would have fared better with the Gibeonites had they dealt honestly with Israel. While their submission to Jehovah secured the preservation of their lives, their deception brought them only disgrace and servitude.
God had made provision that all who would renounce heathenism, and connect themselves with Israel, should share the blessings of the covenant. They were included under the term, “the stranger that sojourneth among you,” and with few exceptions this class were to enjoy equal favors and privileges with Israel. The Lord’s direction was—“If a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself” (Leviticus 19:33, 34)….
Such was the footing on which the Gibeonites might have been received, but for the deception to which they had resorted. It was no light humiliation to those citizens of a “royal city,” “all the men whereof were mighty,” to be made hewers of wood and drawers of water throughout their generations. But they had adopted the garb of poverty for the purpose of deception, and it was fastened upon them as a badge of perpetual servitude. Thus through all their generations their servile condition would testify to God’s hatred of falsehood
Conflict and Courage p. 122
—–Please pray for our family’s situation. Buck
Some years ago, as we were coming home from church on a hot summer day, we saw a lady standing beside her car which was pulled alongside of the highway right by our exit. Seeing children in the car, Ron stopped about half-way down the exit ramp, and he and Eileen walked back up to see if they could help. I drove our car back onto the highway and pulled in behind her. During the time that I was driving the mile to the next exit and doubling back, another man also had stopped. When I saw this man, I immediately wondered if he was stopping to help or if he had other ideas. He looked as if he belonged to a motorcycle gang—bandana tied around his head, tattoos covering his bulging muscles, dirty clothes, very tough looking. A tinge of fear crept, uninvited, up my spine. As I sat there watching them, I was glad that I had a cell phone just in case. Soon, it became apparent that he had only stopped to help, and I relaxed. The contrast between the two “good Samaritans” was rather amusing—Ron in white shirt and tie—the other man in “grubbies.”
Prejudices—so easy to have—so hard to get rid of. So often we categorize someone by the way they are dressed, the color of their skin, their customs, where they live, the roughness of their speech, etc., without getting to know that person’s heart. Praise God! Our Great Redeemer is not prejudiced! He looks at us differently than we look at one another. He takes into account all of the opportunities that we have had or have not had, the trials we have experienced, the environment in which we have been raised, all of the aspects of our life. He tells us, “the LORD seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7
Our Dear Saviour shows His love to all of His creatures. “He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matt 5:45 It took the disciples a long time to exemplify this same love. They had been raised with many prejudices and wrong ideas. They had been taught from infancy that the Gentiles, the poor, the sick, the injured were under the curse of God. Jesus often went out of His way to correct these views. One time, He took His disciples into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. As the disciples followed Him to this foreign land, they looked upon the inhabitants with disdain. They were about to learn a valuable lesson. “A certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation, and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children\’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children\’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way, the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed. And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.” Mark 7:25-31
The disciples felt repulsed that Jesus was even in a heathen area. Now He was conversing with one of “them” and a woman at that! Yet, they could not help but see her faith and persistence even under the unmerited rebuke by the only One Who could help her. After the lesson was learned, our Loving Saviour granted this Syrophenician lady her request. I am sure every time she looked at her daughter, she was forever grateful to Jesus for His great love and healing power. I am sure that she did not keep this blessing to herself but told those around her. This was one step among many that Jesus used to break down the preconceived ideas of His followers.
Think of it! Our Dear Saviour knew this lady so well, that He was sure that her faith in Him would be strong even though He treated her so coolly. He knew that He would be able to use her as His lesson-book, teaching His followers a lesson while developing her faith at the same time. He could say to her, as he said to the Centurion, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Matt 8:10 How careful we must be in our dealings with others. How careful we should be not to judge them by the way that they look or act or talk. How kind and tenderhearted we should be to all we meet. How our Loving Redeemer yearns for us to be a channel through which His love can flow, but how often we wrap our “righteous robes” about us as did the disciples and look upon them with the same disdain that they showed.
Let us lay all of our preconceived ideas and prejudices at the foot of the cross. Let us be diligent to point those about us to their Only Helper. “Let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which is in heaven.”