The Jews, under Joshua’s leadership, have just made an unwise peace treaty with the Gibeonites. A heathen people who lied to Joshua about their identity, in order to be spared the edge of Israel’s (very sharp) sword.
But soon the Israeli army learned that they had promised safety to a group of cursed Canaanites!
Should they absolve their agreement, kill them anyway?
After all, THEY lied!
Verse 10 resolves the issue, properly. “This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them.” Joshua 9:20
In essence, “We will keep our word.”
It goes all the way back to Moses, to the Ten Commandments, and (really) well before that! “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Exodus 20:16
Later David will illustrate this principle in action, when he commends the man who … “sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” Psalm 15:4, who does what he says, even if it hurts!
But … there’s more in our Joshua verse than what we’ve discussed thus far.
See if you can find what I mean. “This we will do to them; we will even let them live, LEST WRATH BE UPON US, because of the oath which we sware unto them.”
“LEST WRATH BE UPON US?”
I can answer that question.
Not the wrath of the poor, weak Gibeonites!
Not the wrath of other Canaanite Tribes surrounding the Jewish encampment!
Not the wrath of the gods and goddesses of the gentiles!
BUT THE WRATH OF AN ALMIGHTY GOD!
Who has taught us to be people of Truth.
Who enforces His Commandments!
Who also opined (through Solomon) in Ecclesiastes 5:5-6. “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel (witness), that it was an error: WHEREFORE SHOULD GOD BE ANGRY AT THY VOICE, and destroy the work of thine hands?”
God becomes ANGRY at the person who does not keep his vows, promises, commitments!
Is ANYONE reading here this morning … who can already think of a promise (or two or three) you’ve made … and not kept?
Had maybe even forgotten?
“Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin … WHEREFORE SHOULD GOD BE ANGRY AT THY VOICE, and destroy the work of thine hands?”
To destroy the work of thy hands!
What a lesson.
What a thought.
If I were preaching in a Church setting, I’d give the invitation now.
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
But here online … the Holy Spirit can give that invitation, far better than me in fact.