Joshua 9:21                        Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water                    11/6/2011

Š       Gibeonites (Deut 20:17, Josh 9:1-27)

 

#1.       Pleading to Be Joshua’s Slaves (Josh 9:1-2,4, Prov 1:4, 8:5,12, 9:10, Josh 9:9-10,24, Prov 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14, Josh 11:20, Luke 18:13, John 6:37, Rom 14:4, Num 27:21, Gen 15:18, Phil 2:13)

A.        Ganging up against Israel.

 

B.        Then they did work wilily.

 

C.        Struck with fear.

 

D.        What were the Gibeonites doing?

 

E.         The Gibeonites were deceivers.

 

F.         Did God have mercy on them?

 

G.        Joshua Cut a Covenant.

 

#2.       Blessings Beyond Expectation (Josh 9:23, Gen 9:25-27, Gal 3:10-11,13, Rom 8:15, 1John 4:18, Rev 22:19, Matt 1:21, Psalm 84:10, Php 1:1, Tit 1:1, Jam 1:1, 2Pet 1:1, Jude 1:1, 2Chron 2:10, Isa 12:3, Rom 10:17, Deut 29:10-13, Eph 3:5-6, Gen 14:14, Isa 11:10, Eph 2:8-9, Psalm 84:10, Matt 24:12)

A.        Now therefore ye are cursed.

 

B.        Is this a picture of Gentiles being drawn in?

 

C.        Now the Gibeonites are made slaves.

 

D.        They were made “Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water.”

 

E.         Did the Gibeonites ever become saved?

 

F.         Unto This Day.

 

G.        How about You?

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Joshua, Josh 9:1 (2X). When God instructed Moses concerning the nations that were living in the land of Canaan, God commanded that the children of Israel exterminate those nations, for the iniquity of the Amorites was now full. Judgment day had come for them; and that included the Hivites. God said in Deut 20:17, “Thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:” A smaller portion of the Hivites were living in the city of Gibeon. Today we will read about these Gibeonites.

Š      Gibeonites (Deut 20:17, Josh 9:1-27)

Josh 9:1-27, “1  And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof; 2  That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord. 3  And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, 4  They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; 5  And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. 6  And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us. 7  And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? 8  And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye? 9  And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt, 10  And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. 11  Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. 12  This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: 13  And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. 14  And the men (of Israel) took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. 15  And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. 16  And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them. 17  And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim. 18  And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes. 19  But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them. 20  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. 21  And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them. 22  And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us? 23  Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God. 24  And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 25  And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do. 26  And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not. 27  And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.”

These Gibeonites were made “Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water.” That is why the title of the Sermon of today is Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water(2X). They were pleading to be Joshua’s slaves. And also notice also the words, “Even unto this day.” When you see these words, God is letting us know that this story has a spiritual application. O yes, this story came to pass historically and literally, but in the words God has chosen there is also a spiritual application which applies “even unto this day” and we must look for it. In this chapter God shows again that He is sovereign, and that He knows the end from the beginning. He knows man’s sins before we are going to commit them, and God works out His plan using the sins of man to accomplish His purposes. This is how God orchestrated the adoption of the Gibeonites.

#1.     Pleading to Be Joshua’s Slaves (Josh 9:1-2,4, Prov 1:4, 8:5,12, 9:10, Josh 9:9-10,24, Prov 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14, Josh 11:20, Luke 18:13, John 6:37, Rom 14:4, Num 27:21, Gen 15:18, Phil 2:13)

A.  We read in verses 1-2 that all the Canaanites were ganging up against Israel. But only the Gibeonites had the facts straight. Only the Gibeonites were struck with fear, because they believed what God said. They believed what Rahab the Harlot believed that God had promised the land of Canaan to the children of Israel.

B.  Then in verse 4 the Gibeonites worked “wilily.” Is that good or bad? When we search out the word “wilily” <06195> we find that most of the time it refers to Wisdom; that is good. For example in Prov 1:4, 8:5 and 8:12,

Pr 1:4  To give subtilty <06195> to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Pr 8:5  O ye simple, understand wisdom <06195>: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

Pr 8:12 ¶ I wisdom dwell with prudence <06195>, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

Were the Gibeonites on the way to Salvation? Is that possible? But these were Gentiles in the flesh.

C.  So the Gibeonites were struck with fear. Is that good or bad? Do we not read in Prov 9:10 that this is good?

Prov 9:10, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. One thing is sure: They believed what they heard! We read that in Josh 9:9-10, and verse 24. Do we not wish that today people believe what they hear from the Word of God? Do we not wish that today people believe God when God says in the Bible: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Believe the Bible) and thou shalt be saved? Do we not wish that today people believe God when God speaks in the Bible about raising children, in Prov 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14,

Pr 13:24 ¶ He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Pr 19:18 ¶ Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

Pr 22:15 ¶ Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Pr 23:13-14  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

 Do not misunderstand me: I am not promoting child abuse; I am just quoting what the Word of God says, and we can look at your own actions to see if we really believe what God says. If we raise your children without any discipline, then we can see with our own eyes that we really do not believe what God says. I am stressing this point, because it is a pervasive problem in most of today’s households where children are being raised in an undisciplined way.

D.  What were the Gibeonites doing? They were deceiving Israel, but at the same time in verse 8 they were pleading for mercy to Joshua. They were willing to become slaves of Joshua! Let us now begin to look at the spiritual meaning of this story. Who does Joshua represent?  He represents the Lord Jesus Christ. Why were they pleading for mercy to Joshua? Is this the working of God the Holy Spirit? It certainly seems so. None of the other Canaanites had this inclination. Please turn ahead to Josh 11:20, and there we read,

Jos 11:20  For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour (no grace), but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Does God say that if we plead for mercy, we will be saved? Apparently He does so, for we read in Luke 18,

Luke 18:13, And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. What does that mean? It means that this publican was an elect child of God, and God the Holy Spirit worked in his heart to plead for mercy. The Lord Jesus gave another example in John 6:37,

John 6:37  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

E.   So the Gibeonites were deceivers.  Is that good or bad? That is bad. The children of Israel were angry that they have been deceived. What a hypocrites. Who are they to judge? Their father Jacob was called a deceiver. His life was filled with deception. And how did that rub off on his children? What did the brothers do to Joseph? And how did they deceive their father that Joseph was dead?  And how often did they rebel against Moses? It was time and time again. So the Gibeonites were deceivers. Just like we were deceivers before we truly became saved. And herein we begin to see the true spiritual picture. The Gibeonites are a picture of all of us who have become saved. We too, before our salvation were Gentiles, and deceivers, and tried to deceive church people that we too were honest Christians. But when we think back on our lives we remember that we were just like these Gibeonites. If we examine ourselves we can remember for example these things:

At the time we were going to Church, we were doing that because we were buying fire insurance. It was not at all because we loved Jesus. At the time we were turning to Jesus, we were totally in an Arminian gospel, which is a gospel of grace plus works, which means that we were worshipping another god, a man made religion. At the time we were turning to Jesus, the Jesus we had in view was only the carnal historical gospel, without any understanding of who the Lord Jesus Christ really is. We thought it was good to join the Church, because that was the fashionable thing to do. We hoped that going to Church would keep the kids out of trouble.

We were going to Church because they have such good programs, and such a nice choir. Would it not be nice to be part of them: almost everyone likes them? And how does the Church respond to these lies?

The Church falls for all those gimmicks: it brings people in! The Church swallows all those lies hook line and sinker! Today most churches essentially look for what people want; not what God wants! Let us not be too hard on the Gibeonites. God says in Rom 14:4, “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Who are we to judge another man’s servant? We were just like them, unregenerate Gentiles, dead in trespasses and sins.

F.   What really matters is if God had mercy on them. Did God have mercy on them? Yes He did. Israel was not consulting God, which they were commanded to do, for we read in Num 27:21,

Num 27:21, And he (that is Joshua) shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.

None of the children of Israel reminded each other: Hey, let us ask the Lord what to do in this case. Why do you think they became so forgetful?  But watch out: we cannot make God the author of sin! What came to pass is a common phenomenon: Sin piles upon Sin. The Gibeonites sinned in their deception and Israel sinned by not consulting God, and God works out His plan through the sins of man. When should WE be consulting God? 

We should consult Him in everything, but especially in what people tell us about the Gospel: Now WE can go to the Word of God and test with the Word of God what people say. Let me say it in different words: If YOU do not check my words with what the Bible says, or if YOU do not check what other people say with what the Bible says, then you deserve to be deceived. You have no one to blame but yourselves.

G.  Now look at what verse 15 says. “Joshua made peace with them, and cut a covenant with them to let them live!” God uses the same Hebrew words here as He used in Gen 15:18, and there we read, “In the same day the LORD cut a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” Joshua “cut a covenant with them”! What do you think this means?  God gives us the answer here: To let them live! What a wonderful mercy of God to give life to those who were dead in trespasses and sins, and to bring salvation not only to the children of Israel, but also to the Gentiles. What covenant is in view here?  It is the covenant of grace, which was worked out within the Godhead before the foundation of the world for those whom God intended to be the Bride of Christ, and to come under the hearing of the true Gospel, and to save a people for Himself by sending the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to pay for all their sins on the Cross, and to pay the payment that they could not pay.

Now, do not be mistaken, the Gibeonites meant it unto evil. “They meant it unto evil, but God meant it unto good.” It was the evil of deceiving Israel just to save their skin.  They were not concerned about their soul! Just their skin! And Israel risked that the Gibeonites might become a snare to them, to lead them into other gospels or into idolatry. But God worked this sin into His plan, just like He did with Joseph and his brothers, just like He did with Rahab and her family. And then we realize that ultimately it is God who is doing it. We read in Phil

Phil 2:13, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

What now is the result of all this in the second half of Joshua chapter 9?

#2.       Blessings Beyond Expectation (Josh 9:23, Gen 9:25-27, Gal 3:10-11,13, Rom 8:15, 1John 4:18, Rev 22:19, Matt 1:21, Psalm 84:10, Php 1:1, Tit 1:1, Jam 1:1, 2Pet 1:1, Jude 1:1, 2Chron 2:10, Isa 12:3, Rom 10:17, Deut 29:10-13, Eph 3:5-6, Gen 14:14, Isa 11:10, Eph 2:8-9, Psalm 84:10, Matt 24:12)

A.   Let us move on immediately to Verses 22 and 23, and focus on Verse 23: Josh 9:23, “Now therefore ye are cursed.” That does not sound very good. But there are two corrections you need to make on this translation:

1.   The word “Now” is the word <06258> which in most other places in the Bible has been translated as “For now”, not forever, but “For now”.

2.   Secondly, the word “therefore” is not in the original Hebrew text. You should leave it out. Therefore, Josh 9:23 reads: “For now ye are cursed.” The future may be different.

Why were they cursed? Could it be because God had pronounced this curse in Gen 9:25? There we read,

Ge 9:25 “And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.”

No, that could not be the reason, for then Gen 9:26-27 would dictate that the Gibeonites would be slaves to the whole world, for we read in Gen 9:26-27,

Ge 9:26  And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Ge 9:27  God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

The true reason why they were cursed was because they were still unsaved!  All the unsaved are under the curse of God. All the unsaved are still under the law, which means that all the unsaved will be held accountable for every sin that they commit. Moreover, God says in Gal 3:10-11,

Gal 3:10-11, “10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”

Only after we have become Born Again have we been freed from the curse of the law, for we read in Gal 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”

B.  These Gibeonites are a picture of the Gentiles being drawn into God’s Plan of Salvation. These Gibeonites were a picture of each one of us who have become saved. How do we know that they were still unsaved? They were afraid of losing their life, not their souls. They were afraid of people! God says that someone who is saved is no longer afraid. We fear God, but we are not afraid of people. 

Rom 8:15,  “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” If God is our Father, who may be against us?

1John 4:18,  “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Do we fear God, or do we fear people?

And while we are on the subject of fear, let us consider another aspect of it which concerns me very much. Are we afraid to be witnesses of the Gospel of Christ? Are we afraid to speak of Christ crucified? Are we afraid to proclaim the whole counsel of God, including His sovereignty? Are we afraid to speak freely of Rom 9, or John 6, or Eph 1, and so on? Are we afraid to proclaim Rev 22:19 that everyone who takes away from the words of the Prophecy of this Book is under the curse of God? Are we afraid to proclaim that Matt 1:21 and John 17:9 speak of Limited Atonement, or Particular Atonement? Are we afraid to declare that God says, paraphrased, “whoever claims that Christ died for the sins of everyone who ever lived is violating Rev 22:19, and is on the way to hell”? These are really the consequences of fearing God and having no fear of man. But very few preachers, these days, dare to stick out their necks to fight for the sovereignty of God.

C.   Now the Gibeonites are made to be slaves. But look at the blessed state of these slaves in Josh 9:23

Josh 9:23,  “And there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.” These slaves were in a better position than most of the free Israelites. They were drafted to be servants of the most high God. This is what we all would like to be. In a Psalm of the sons of Korah the Lord recorded the blessed state of someone who is a slave of God. We read in Psalm 84:10,

Ps 84:10, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

Every saint is a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to be a slave for the house of God is really an envyable position. Read what the Apostles say about their own status: They were all willing slaves of Christ !

Php 1:1 ¶ Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Tit 1:1 ¶ Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

Jas 1:1 ¶ James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

2Pe 1:1 ¶ Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

Jude 1:1 ¶ Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

D.   But here is the key: The Gibeonites were made “hewers of wood and drawers of water”. Hewers of wood are typically those that are active in building the House of God. For example we read in 2Chron 2:10 that Solomon gave a royal salary to the hewers that cut timber for the house of the Lord. Drawers of water are typically those that are drawing the water of the Gospel to give unto others, like the Lord Jesus did for the Samaritan woman. For example, the Word of God reads in the prophecy of Isaiah, in Isa 12:3,

Isa 12:3,  “Therefore with joy shall ye draw <07579> water out of the wells of salvation.

E.   These are all types and figures of salvation. Did the Gibeonites ever become saved? We do not know for sure, for there is no explicit language like that in the Old Testament, but very likely they became saved, for they came under the hearing of the Word of God, and this we know, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). The Lord God, through Moses, anticipated this friendship between Israel and the Gibeonites in Deut 29, where Moses mentioned the slaves who would be hewers of wood and drawers of water. We read in Deut 29:10-13,

De 29:10-13, 10 ¶ Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, 11  Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: 12  That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day: 13 That he may establish thee today for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

F.   But God ended verse 27 with the words, “Unto This Day.” What does that mean? It means that the spiritual condition that came to pass by the adoption of the Gentiles into the ranks of those who were alive unto God continues to exist unto this day. God was in charge of creating this spiritual picture on the pages of Josh 9, and God has His reasons for doing so. We read, for example, in Eph 3:5-6,

Eph 3:5-6,  5  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”

In other words, it always was God’s plan to include the Gentiles as full members of Christ into the Body of Christ, His Bride. And for this reason God created several scenes in the Old Testament which showed that the remnant of the Gentiles were equal members of Christ with the remnant of the Jews. For example, in Gen 14:14 Abraham took 318 of his Gentile servants, and armed them, and three of his friends Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre, and with this tiny army he defeated the much bigger army of four kings of the east and rescued his nephew Lot and his family out of their hands. Another example: When the nation of Israel was delivered out of the land of Egypt there was also a large contingent of a mixed multitude of Gentiles, who simultaneously with Israel were delivered out of the hand of Pharaoh. And is this deliverance out of Egypt not a picture of salvation? Another example: When David fought his battles against the heathen nations he enlisted many Gentiles as full members of his army. Think for example of Uriah the Hittite, and of the Cherethites and the Pellethites whom he enlisted as his personal bodyguard. Another example: Think of the many Ninevites who repented at the preaching of Jonah. Even though not all the Ninevites may have repented, there were many including the king. And we have to keep in mind that man cannot repent of his own volition; it is God who gives repentance to who He will. Moreover, the prophet Isaiah has always prophesied that the Gentiles would be co-heirs of the kingdom of God. For example, we read in Isa 11 this familiar verse,

Isa 11:10,  And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

The “Root of Jesse” refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. To Him, to Christ, shall the Gentiles seek, and His rest, His salvation, shall be glorious. Let us now return to the Prophecy of Joshua, chapter 9. The Gibeonites are a picture of New Testament Gentiles who are being drawn to Christ, the Israel of God, like the prophet Isaiah prophesied. Their credentials were no good at all, just like the rest of us. But the Lord is not saving good people; the Lord is not saving people who are good in themselves. If you are good in yourself then God will turn away from you, for the Lord Jesus Christ came to save sinners. These are not good people, these are bad people.

Why do good people go to hell? They go to hell because they are stuck up in pride. It is their self-righteousness which sends them to hell. Why do bad people go to heaven? Not all the bad people go to heaven; only a remnant of them does. Only those on whom the Lord wants to be merciful will go to heaven for they came to realize that they belong to those people who are on the way to hell. The Lord Jesus did not come for those who think of themselves as righteous; He did not come for those who have no need of a physician; He came for those who were sick; spiritually sick, and who knew they were sick.

The Lord Jesus did not come for those who go to purgatory, for those who go to purgatory are burning off their sins in a hellish place, hoping to go to heaven when their sins have been fully paid. They are paying for their own sins in the flames of purgatory. They do not know that the wages of sin is death, and the death that God has in view is an eternity in the lake of fire. And thus, those who go to purgatory will spend an eternity there in the flames of purgatory. They wanted to pay for their own sins, and thus they shall pay for their own sins. They wanted a gospel by their own works; they shall have a gospel of their own works; but the penalty will last for an eternity. It is amazing to me that there are so many people who buy into that evil scheme of the Roman Catholic Church, and of many other churches who have also adopted this gospel of works. They are pleading to God to be fair. Well He will be fair to them. They will receive what they wanted all along: A fair God who will cast them into hell forever. We do not want a God who is fair; we want God to be merciful!

The Lord Jesus did not come for those who claim to have faith, for if they already have faith then it is a faith that is not the faith that God would give them. No! The Lord Jesus came for those who have no faith to begin with, and after the Lord has made them Born Again will they receive faith from God. God says it so clearly in Eph 2:8-9, “8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (that faith is) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.” It means then that the true Gospel is that we are saved by grace, which is God’s unmerited favor. Grace came first, and that is why we have been saved. And if anyone believes that he is saved by faith, that his faith came first and that is why he has been saved, that person is like the Pharisee who believes that he is saved by his own good works. It is a stench in the nose of God.

Let us return now to the Gibeonites in Josh 9. There is a world of truth buried behind those three words, “Unto This Day.” This expression appears 88 times in the Bible. If preachers would only search for spiritual truth in these 88 passages, they would obtain a wealth of information that their hungry congregation would love to devour. It would always be information that elevates the honor and the glory and the sovereignty of God, and it would portray the true Gospel of salvation by grace alone that every man would love to hear. But most preachers will not dig into those 88 passages, because the sovereignty of God is the farthest from their goal.

On the side: The Gibeonites were only a fraction of the Hivites. All the other Hivites fought against Israel, and they lost their lives. No, they lost much more. They really were the cursed ones. They were brought under the Judgment of God, and God used the nation of Israel to bring them to the Judgment throne.

G.    How about You? Can you agree with the sons of Korah in Psalm 84:10,  “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Does our life show that we believe that? Would we be glad to be in the shoes of the Gibeonites? Can we say that we are willing slaves of God, because Christ has bought us, body and soul? Can we say that we are faithful servants like Uriah the Hittite, even if it costs us our life? I know that God saves whom He will, but is there any evidence that He indeed did save ME? You see, many people say that they are Christians, but they are fake Christians; and many people say that they believe the Bible alone is the Word of God, but in their worship they actually bring in additional words supposedly from God the Holy Spirit; and many people say that they love the Lord Jesus, but when push comes to shove they actually love their son or daughter more than Christ. What I am driving at is that we are living in the end times and the Lord Jesus said in Matt 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” What love was the Lord talking about? He was talking about the love for Him. Near the end of time only a very tiny fraction of mankind shall have this love for the Lord Jesus. To love the Lord Jesus with all our heart, soul, and mind, and strength is the first and foremost command that indicates if we have been saved. And if we do not love the Lord this much, we must pray that He gives us this love, for without it we cannot be saved. Pray for it without ceasing. Your eternal life depends on it.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.