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How To Avoid the Pain of Deception

Have you ever been deceived?

There have been situations in my life where something has seemed good but as I have stepped into the opportunity it turned out to be nothing like it seemed. I’ve even had it in relationships. I have met someone and instantly liked them and opened myself up to them only to find that they were nothing like the person they presented themselves to be.

It really hurts to be deceived. We go through a mix of emotions, from being angry with that person or situation to being angry with ourselves for falling for it.

Israel faced deception as they entered the promised land.  This deception had consequences that Israel had to live with.  And although it would appear that Joshua was diligent, he failed to do one critical thing to avoid being deceived.

When Joshua took over the leadership of Israel, he was extremely successful. He listened to and obeyed God and God gave him incredible victory in battle. While this victory was great for Israel it actually sent the other nations into a tailspin. They knew that if God was with Israel there was nothing they could do to defeat them.

However, the Gibeonites decided on a different game plan.  The bible says that they resorted to deception to save themselves.  The Gibeonites put on weathered and worn-out clothes, packed moldy bread and split wineskins to appear like they were from a distant country, rather than the town next door. They then went to Joshua to make a treaty with him. 

But Joshua was not a pushover, his spidy sensors were on high alert and he started to question them. He questioned who they were and where they were from. But as is the way with deceivers they were very cleaver. They alluded his questions with vague answers and produced evidence that seemed to prove they had been traveling for a very long time.

Joshua listened to what they said, looked at the evidence a decided to trust them. He made a treaty with them that saved their lives but it was a mere three days later that the deception was discovered, and Israel had to live with the consequences.

Some people are very good at deception. They are very good at presenting things in a way that makes us think everything is ok. There are some situations that appear to be so good that we can hardly resist taking them. We look at the situation from all angles and feel as though it is the right thing for us to do. It is scary to think that Joshua questioned them so diligently and went through all their belongings but was still deceived.

I’m all for being diligent. I think it is crucial that we look into things thoroughly before stepping in. It’s important to take our time and let relationships stand the test of time before we fully commit. But there is something else that is critical to protecting ourselves from being deceived and it is something we forget to do, and we see that Joshua forgot to do it as well.

Joshua 9:14, Joshua failed to consult the Lord.

Such a small mention in the story but such an important thing to do. Joshua did not ask God what he should do.

Do you ever jump into things without asking God?

Something might look so good that it couldn’t possibly be bad, so we skip asking God and just get on with it. When we do this we open ourselves up to being deceived.

After we have experienced being deceived, we are very cautious of the next opportunity or person that comes our way. We hold ourselves back out of fear that it will happen to us again.

God invites us to call on Him in every situation in our lives. He does not do this to control us or spoil our fun. He does this for our protection. If you have ever been deceived, you will know just how convincing it was. You thought you had come into the situation with a clear mind only to realise that you had been cleverly deceived.

The great news for us is that God is never deceived. The best deceiver in the world, satan, was no match for God. That is why it is so critical that we go to Him for His wisdom and guidance. We do this so that we don’t fall prey to deception. When we learn to do this, we don’t need to be afraid of new opportunities or people coming into our lives because we trust that God will help us to see what we cannot see on our own.

Lord, Please forgive me for the times that I have just run into things without talking to You. I want to make wise, confident decisions in my life, so I am going to turn to You for help as those situations arise. Amen.

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