News of Jericho and Ai had spread throughout the land. The surrounding kings and people had also heard of the Lord’s miracles. They knew this was to be more than a physical battle.
The Hivites in Gibeon were among the local people who knew about these Hebrews. They were greatly afraid of Joshua for they knew that the children of Israel had come to take the land and destroy the inhabitants.
The Hivites knew they couldn’t defeat Joshua and his God, so they formulated another plan. They donned some worn-out sacks for clothes. They loaded their oldest donkeys with moldy bread and old wineskins, and went to meet with Joshua.
“We have come from a distant country. Please make a treaty with us,” pleaded the Hivites in disguise.
They had the appearance of foreigners from a distant land. Still, the men of Israel questioned them, “Perhaps you live near us. How then can we make a treaty with you?”
The delegation from Gibeon continued the masquerade. “This bread of ours was warm on the day we left. But see how dry and moldy it is now. And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey” (Joshua 9, paraphrased).
“The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD” (Joshua 9:14).
They were duped. They fell for the moldy-bread-and-old-wineskin trick. They signed a treaty, thus disobeying God’s command to destroy the Hivites.
Fear is like that. The wolf comes to you in sheep’s clothing, bearing bogus gifts, creating a false impression. It has a way of making things seem one way when they are really another. It’s a powerful bluff.
The men of Israel really only made one mistake. Did you catch it? They “did not inquire of the Lord.”
God is ready for you to inquire of him. He wants to guide and lead you and expose the facade of fear.
Prayer: Father, enable me to recognize fear when it first approaches. Show me how to respond when I face fearful situations. Give me strength to stand, courage to continue, and grant me victory over fear.