Confidence: His Perseverance (Part 2)

June 16, 2024

Series: Confidence

Book: Joshua

This is a part of a sermon series on the book of Joshua. You can watch more here.


Sermon Manuscript

Last Sunday Roberto did a great job of walking us through Joshua 8. Israel is going through a roller coaster. Victory in Jericho; high. Sin of Achan, loss of lives; low. The closing verses of Joshua 8 is a celebration! An altar is built, the people are gathered, the Word of the Lord is read; it’s a big deal!

But Joshua 9 comes with a dip of discouragement and we need to remember that pattern in our walk with the Lord. It isn’t going to be all wins. It isn’t going to be a life of answered prayers. It isn’t going to be a story of everyone breaking out in applause when we walk in the room.

My wife and I just celebrated 25-years of marriage. One night last week we went out to dinner and we walked through every year of our marriage from memory and there are some sweet memories over the last 25-years but there are also memories of perseverance.

There are memories of wondering what God was doing, memories of confession and repentance, memories of pain and discouragement but in all those memories there was a layer of joy as the Lord walked with us through each of those 25-years.

In a similar way, in our passage this morning, we will see that same pattern; it isn’t all wins, it’s a pattern of trusting the Lord as the He walks with His people and His people walk with Him. Look at Joshua 9:1:

Joshua 9:1,” 1 Now it came about when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country and in the lowland and on all the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, heard of it.”

Look at that phrase “heard of it” at the end of verse 1? How ominous! It’s like the gangs of New York. What did they hear? This is talking about all the Canaanite people living in the land and the Canaanite people have “heard” about the defeat at Ai!

Do you remember Joshua 7? The people of Israel go up against the people of Ai but because of the sin of Achan they don’t know that the Lord isn’t with them and the men of Ai struck down about 36 men of Israel.

Joshua 7:5, “5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

If you have been tracking with us through Joshua then you know this is significant because this wording is almost a replica of Joshua 5 when the Canaanite people see the glory of God part the waters at the Jordan River and the Canaanite people are overcome with fear but now in Joshua 9 the Canaanite people are starting to get some swagger. Do you see it? Look at verse 2:

Joshua 9:2, “2 that they gathered themselves together with one accord to fight with Joshua and with Israel.”

The Canaanite people start to think, “Maybe we can take Israel? Maybe we don’t need to be afraid?” So that right out of the gate we start to see one of the principles of our passage this morning.

Remember, we’ve talked about how we can’t take 1-1 application from Old Testament narrative. We aren’t Israel. We aren’t at war with the Canaanites. Instead we want to look for principles that are true at all times for all people and all places, so that one of our principles in our passage is that we can’t become robotic in our relationship with God.

Sometimes we think, “My relationship with God is about going to church, serving these people, hanging out with these friends.” No, our relationship with God is a relationship. It’s a roller coaster. It’s 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

There was a day when the Canaanites were in fear of the Lord but that day isn’t today, so the people of God still walk by faith as they trust Him and follow Him. Amen? This is our first principle, “Our relationship with God isn’t robotic.” Look at verses 3-5:

Joshua 9:3-5, “3 When the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai. 4 they also acted craftily and set out as envoys, and took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins worn-out and torn and mended, 5 and worn-out and patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and had become crumbled.”

Joshua 9 starts off with a focus on all the enemies of Israel but in verses 3-5 we see the story zoom in on one people group known as the Gibeonites. Gibeonites have also heard about the defeat at Ai but instead of showing up in battle, they take a different approach.

In verse 4 we see they are “acting craftily” which means the Gibeonites show up to be tricky. The Gibeonites could show up to fight but instead they show up with old clothes. They pull out worn sandals. The bread they are eating is crumbly, so that they approach Israel in a position of weakness. Look at verses 6-8:

Joshua 9:6-8, “6 They went to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us. 7 The men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you are living within our land; how then shall we make a covenant with you?” 8 But they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” Then Joshua said to them, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

In verse 6 the Gibeonites want to “make a covenant.” It means they want to sign a peace treaty. It means they don’t want to fight Israel but it is all built around deception and flattery.

Notice the exchange in the conversation. The Gibeonites weren’t impressive; verses 4-5. The Gibeonites said they were coming from a “faraway land” that really wasn’t that far; verse 6. The Gibeonites describe themselves as servants of Israel; verse 8.

In addition, the men of Israel are aware enough to know something is off in the exchange. They are asking questions, “Perhaps you live in our land? How should we make a covenant with you? Where do you live exactly?” It has deception and flattery written all over it. Look at verses 9-11:

Joshua 9:9-11, “9 They said to him, “Your servants have come from a very far country because of the fame of the Lord your God; for we have heard the report of Him and all that He did in Egypt, 10 and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon and to Og king of Bashan who was at Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey, and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; now then, make a covenant with us.”’

I am pretty sure this is where multi-level marketing got started. The Gibeonites are pressuring Israel to close the deal, “So what do we need to do today to get you to say, “Yes” to this offer?”

Listen to me, the first principle in our passage is that we can’t become robotic in our relationship with God. The second principle in our passage is our dependency upon the Lord.

I wish I could tell you it’s easy to tell the difference between the Lord and deception. I wish I could tell you that deception always shows up with a red costume and a pointy tail so we can see deception coming a mile away. I wish I could tell you deception will show up with alarms going off like, “Watch out, something deceptive is about to happen!”

But in my experience, some of the sneakiest temptations come in ways I would never expect. Sometimes there are people who honor Jesus with their lips but their lives are far from Him and it’s not always easy to see. Sometimes great blessing makes us comfortable so that we let down our guard. Perhaps we experience some success, we get some pats on the back and sometimes those moments are when we are the most vulnerable to deception.

Sometimes we can try really hard to be on guard against deception but in our heart of hearts we simply hear what we want to hear. Sometimes when my wife and I are struggling to understand each other we will ask each other, “What did you just hear me say?”

This is between two people who are trying really hard to understand one another, therefore, how much easier is it for us to get confused, tricked, distracted, and deceived?
It’s great when the faith of Rahab shows up in Joshua 2 and proves to be sincere but sometimes the flattery of the Gibeonites are going to sneak into our lives as well, which is why our faith in the Lord can’t become robotic and we must walk with dependency upon the Lord. Look at verses 12-13:

Joshua 9:12-13, “12 This our bread was warm when we took it for our provisions out of our houses on the day that we left to come to you; but now behold, it is dry and has become crumbled. 13 These wineskins which we filled were new, and behold, they are torn; and these our clothes and our sandals are worn out because of the very long journey.”

Do you see the deception? The crumbly bread is to give the appearance of geographical distance. The torn wineskins means they have been traveling for so long the wineskins have become ragged, the sandals have become worn.

Listen to me church family, we are more vulnerable to deception than ever before because we are being exposed to so many influences, therefore, when it comes to our faith in Jesus we must be vigilant.

There are people today that will say the name of “Jesus” but they have no interest in following Jesus made known in God’s Word. There are people in our circle of friends who use a lot of religious words but they aren’t interested in the Jesus of the Bible.

There are times I will see influencers on social media who will talk about Jesus, quote scriptures about Jesus, talk about praying to Jesus and then say things that are completely contradictory to Jesus and His Word, so that we need to be on guard today.

People like Jordan Peterson are fun to listen to, Brene Brown, so fun. Taylor Swift. People who stand on a stage with a cross behind them doesn’t mean they are followers of Jesus. We need to hold God’s Word in our hand. We need to ask questions. We need to listen because people are showing up with flattery and deception, which makes us incredibly vulnerable.

This is especially true in our church family. The Lord is gathering men and women who are new in their faith in our church family. It’s great to be new in Jesus but there is also a vulnerability in that newness.

Matthew 13 describes the sower who goes out to sow, so that some seed falls on the road, some seed is eaten by the birds, some seeds fall into rocky places, so when the sun comes it scorches the seed and it withers away. Instead we want to have seed that falls into good soil, planted by streams of water, which grows strong roots and yields a great harvest

I wish I could tell you that our worship service today will fill you with such hope and strength in the Lord it will last you the rest of the month! I wish I could tell you that you could bounce from church to church, podcast to podcast, friend to friend and grow strong in the Lord. I wish I could tell you that you can feed on the substance of this world and somehow still grow strong in the Lord. It’s just not true.

We want to treasure the seed of faith we have been given in the Lord, nurture that seed into good soil, water that seed with godliness, because flattery and deception is all around us. Look at verses 14-15:

Joshua 9:14-15, “14 So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. 15 Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them.”

Do you see any concerns in verses 14 and 15? The men of Israel know something is off, at least they know enough to ask questions back in verses 6-8 but in verse 14 they “don’t ask for the counsel of the Lord.”

It isn’t just that Israel is tricked but instead they have become robotic in their relationship with the Lord. They are dependent upon the Lord. They look at the surface, they don’t see a threat from the Gibeonites, so they do what is right in their own eyes.

This is straight out Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve saw that the tree was good for food and a delight to the eyes, so she took from the tree and gave to her husband. The wording in the original language is stronger because the phrase “took some of their provisions” implies bringing food to their mouth but the mouth of the Lord they didn’t ask. Does that make sense?

How many times have we done the same thing? We know something is off about that romantic relationship but instead of asking the Lord we just dive in with both feet. We know something is off about that career opportunity but the title and salary are too good to pass up. Surely the Lord would want us to make more money!

We know something is off about that spiritual leader. We hear them say something, we have this uneasy feeling about it but everyone thinks they are amazing so we just keep drinking in what they have to offer and we never seek the counsel of the Lord. I’ve been giving you defensive principles, where to be on guard but can I give you some points of action?

Learn God’s Word. The reason we teach verse by verse on a Sunday morning is because we want to be a people who know God’s Word. The challenge we have today is that we know just enough of God’s Word to think we don’t need to read God’s Word.

We hear stories and we think, “Yeah that sounds familiar.” We hear biblical truth and we think, “Yeah that makes sense.” But we aren’t learning to study God’s Word. We aren’t learning to teach God’s Word. We aren’t learning to palm God’s Word, so that we can defend ourselves against the deception that is all around us.

Listen for Jesus. It isn’t enough to just hear the name of Jesus but when you hear the name Jesus we need to ask ourselves, “Is Jesus being described as God in the flesh? Or is Jesus just a good person?” Is Jesus death on the cross necessary or is Jesus’ death on a the cross just a kind gesture? Is Jesus’ resurrection imperative or is Jesus’ resurrection never mentioned?”

The call of God’s Word is to know Jesus, meet with Jesus, walk with Jesus, therefore, we want to make sure we are falling in love with the Jesus made known in God’s Word. Last one.

Life of Reflection. It isn’t enough to just think correctly about Jesus and His Word but we must sift Jesus and His Word through our life but for that to happen we must slow down and reflect.

In a city like Austin, we are so busy. We glory in being busy. Have you heard about how busy I am? I am so important and you know I am important because look at how busy I am running from meeting to meeting, event to event, email to text.

We love to be busy being busy, because it’s so hard to slow down. It’s hard to be still. It’s hard to not have something in our hands scrolling through our timelines so that we don’t miss out on the next “end of the world event” that’s going to pass away with another “end of the world event.”

You want to know the real challenge for our day? When you combine our low understanding of God’s Word with a distorted view of Jesus and a mind, body and soul that is cluttered with activity we become a people who are prime candidates for deception.

This summer we are trying to slow down our church family. This summer we are prayerfully asking the Lord, “Could we become simpler as a church family?” Are we busy being busy or are we helping the body of Christ grow in the Lord and reflect on their life in the Lord?

Won’t you join us? Not only in praying for our church family, but join us in learning God’s Word, falling in love with Jesus and slowing down to sift Jesus and His Word through our souls. Look at verse 16:

Joshua 9:16 “16 It came about at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were neighbors and that they were living within their land.”

Duh, duh, duh! What? Come to find out, the Gibeonites don’t live in a faraway land and come to find out, the Gibeonites are living within the promised land and it all comes to the surface after they make the covenant. Look at verses 17-18:

Joshua 9:17-18, “17 Then the sons of Israel set out and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon and Chephirah and Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim. 18 The sons of Israel did not strike them because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord the God of Israel. And the whole congregation grumbled against the leaders.”

The people of Israel are upset with the leaders of Israel but the people of Israel don’t want to dishonor the name of the Lord. Does that make sense? This is a difficult tension to draw out in the passage.

The Gibeonites tricked the people of Israel. The people of Israel didn’t honor the Lord by seeking His counsel, so that when the whole context of the passage is layered in deception it seems like it would be easy to break the commitment.

This brings us to the third and last principle of the passage. First, our relationship with God isn’t robotic. It isn’t a religious set of rules that we follow. Our relationship with God is built around dependency upon the Lord, so that most of all our primary aim is to honor the Lord in all things.

If we are struggling where to start in our walk with the Lord. Start with honoring the Lord. If we are struggling with the right response. The right response starts with honoring the Lord. If we are struggling with how to make a decision, who to marry, where to move, how to respond; we start with honoring the Lord.

We may be caught in a pattern of sin, folly and foolishness. Yes, turn to Jesus. Yes, turn in confession and repentance but a practical first step in every area of life is to take the step that is honoring to the Lord. Look at verses 19-21:

Joshua 9:19-21, “19 But all the leaders said to the whole congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we cannot touch them. 20 This we will do to them, even let them live, so that wrath will not be upon us for the oath which we swore to them.” 21 The leaders said to them, “Let them live.” So they became hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole congregation, just as the leaders had spoken to them.”

Isn’t this fascinating? Just as Rahab shows up throughout Scripture, we see the Gibeonites show up throughout Scripture. The Gibeonite people are involved in temple worship throughout Scripture.

In Joshua 18 the Gibeonites are brought into the tribe of Benjamin. The Gibeonites show up under King David as one of David’s mighty men. They Gibeonites show up in Nehemiah when they rebuilt the wall.

The Gibeonites didn’t show up with genuine faith, in fact, the Gibeonites show up with layered hearts of deception and yet the mercy of the Lord is exalted as the Gibeonites are grafted into Israel. Isn’t that wild? Look at verses 22-25:

Joshua 9:22-25, “22 Then Joshua called for them and spoke to them, saying, “Why have you deceived us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you are living within our land? 23 Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall never cease being slaves, both hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.”24 So they answered Joshua and said, “Because it was certainly told your servants that the Lord your God had commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before you; therefore we feared greatly for our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 25 Now behold, we are in your hands; do as it seems good and right in your sight to do to us.”

Notice the language in verse 25, “Do as it seems good and right in your sight to do to us.” There is a trust in the Lord, as small as it might be, that is being elevated in Joshua 9, so that we see our principles layered throughout our passage this morning.

Our faith in the Lord is a roller coaster! It’s possible you might feel like you are the only one who takes one steps forward with the Lord and 10-steps back but unfortunately this is the pattern we see in the follower of Jesus.

There are going to be great days with the Lord and there are going to be seasons when we might feel spiritually distant from the Lord. The good news is that the Lord is faithful! Take that in church family. The Lord is faithful!

Yes, the Gibeonites experienced consequences for their deception. The Lord doesn’t remove the consequences for those decisions when those decisions aren’t honoring to the Lord, but the best we can tell, the Gibeonites are grafted into His mercy.


North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.


You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.


NVC Online

Unable to attend this Christian Church in Austin? Don’t worry, because, through God’s provision, we have created NVC online, an Online Church streaming a worship service every Sunday from 10:30am Central Time. You can also watch our short, powerful sermons on demand and follow us on Instagram for daily Christ centered content.