Joshua was one of the all-time great leaders of the young nation of Israel. His credentials were impeccable. He was one of just two spies who gave a glowing report of the promised land. He became the aide de camp of Moses, serving with faithfulness for forty years. When God brought Moses home, he took over the mantle of leadership. His task was to lead the people across the Jordan and battle their way through the promised land. He led the people from one glorious victory after another until all their tribes have their portion. He was one of the few leaders in the Bible who seemed to be blameless.
And yet, there was one time that we see him for what he was: a flawed leader like the rest of us. The incident came to be known as the Gibeon Deception. Fresh from resounding victories over Jericho and Ai, the Israelites were poised to overrun more city kingdoms. A number of these hostile tribes banded together to try to stop the Jewish juggernaut. However, one tribe, the Gibeonites, sought another way to save their skin (see Joshua 9). They pretended to be people from a far country, and they successfully tricked Joshua and his other leaders into making a peace treaty with them.
How did this happen? The Bible simply say that they “did not ask counsel from the LORD” (Joshua 9:14). Perhaps the sweet taste of victory lulled Joshua and his fellow leaders into over confidence. By relying on their wisdom, they were deceived.
In the same manner, Christian leaders must realize that they are liable to deception by others. Because of their position of authority, people with selfish motives will attempt to sway the leader’s decision in their favor. Given our finite knowledge, we could easily be hoodwinked.
It is, therefore, incumbent upon a leader to always seek “counsel from the Lord”. In practical terms, it means we should always be down on our knees (literally or figuratively), praying for God’s leading. The need for supplication is especially acute when facing weighty decisions in the workplace or the ministry.
Once again, we are reminded that Christian leaders like Joshua are ultimately saved by God’s grace alone and not because of their merits.
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