Seeing Shouldn't Be Believing

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“When I see it. I’ll believe it!”

Ever heard that one before?

“He told me…!”

We know that our emotions are not always reliable, but surely we can trust our eyes and ears.

That’s what Joshua and the leaders of Israel thought when they met the men from Gibeon. The Gibeonites heard that the invaders were on their way and that everywhere they went nothing was left behind but destruction and death. Deciding that negotiation might not work they settled for a “ruse” (Joshua 9:4). They sent a delegation to Joshua but made themselves look like they had come a very long distance. The idea was to pose as representatives of a nation that was far enough away to not pose a threat to Israel.

The clothes were tattered and dusty, the bread was moldy, the wine sour and in cracked wineskins, and the sandals were worn. The story was plausible. Joshua and his leaders believed the Gibeonites.

The men of Israel sampled the provisions but did not inquire of the Lord” (9:14). I suppose they thought that if sight and sound wasn’t enough surely a taste test would be sufficient proof that the men from Gibeon were telling the truth.

Three days later, Joshua found out that sight, hearing AND taste can’t be trusted (9:16).

What looked good, wasn’t. What sounded right, wasn’t. What tasted bad, was bad, but still couldn’t be accepted at face value.

Simple lesson: Ask God.

We are always making judgment calls. Every day decisions must be made. Some aren’t all that important and the world won’t fall apart if we make the wrong one. Other choices are much more important and have serious consequences if we choose badly. But whether they are big or small, we need to remember the lesson taught us by the Gibeonites: ASK GOD!

We may think that we cannot be deceived, especially when the evidence it standing right before us or someone said so, so it must be so. But, evidence can be tampered with and people don’t always tell the truth.


I’ve always wondered what might have happened if the Gibeonites had simply come to Joshua and begged for mercy. We’ll never know. But I suspect it was the last time Joshua and his leaders forgot to “inquire of the Lord.”


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