“But the children of Israel did not attack them, because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation complained against the rulers” (Josh 9:18)
This is the story of how the Gibeonites deceived Joshua and the other leaders. Disappointed, the people of God complained against their own rulers. They were ready to attack the city of Gibeon, to conquer it and take the booty. But Joshua stopped them because of the covenant of friendship they made with the Gibeonites. Even if it was the result of manipulation or deception, they could not cancel the covenant once made. Then the people ‘complained’. In Hebrew, the word means to murmur, to be stubborn or to carry a grudge. The people grumbled the whole night, refusing to move and co-operate the next day. To complain it means to accuse someone of causing pain and grief. Complaining is the beginning of rebellion.
This is a great lesson: deception among the leaders will result in disunity and rebellion among the followers. The devil attacks the leaders for a greater damage. He knows that “If the shepherd falls, the sheep will scatter”. Spiritually speaking, if the pastor of a church is deceived, the congregation will become obstinate, unteachable and difficult. It is the same if a husband is deceived. The marriage will be damaged; the wife and children shall rebel against his authority. This is a very important lesson for all, especially for us in positions of leadership. As pastors, as parents, as teachers, we have a greater responsibility to watch and pray!
Please remember the story of the Gibeonites, how they deceived even the mighty Joshua. Never underestimate the ancient skill of the unbelievers to lie and deceive! If you are not spiritually alert, the false brethren are able to use magic or occult means to manipulate your emotions! Pray in English! Pray in your language! Pray in tongues! Trust not your wisdom or your experience! Trust only God!
Please believe this word: It is possible to live a life free of deception! Pay the price to be a good mature leader! Then your congregation or your family will learn to trust you as their mentor! That is indeed a great gain for all! To the glory of God!