Bible Studies/Story of Joshua

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Question
Hello, I am having a bit of a hard time understanding the part of the Bible Joshua 9. Joshua was deceived and made a sinful vow with them to God to protect them, only to find out that they lied...but he didn't follow through with what the Lord told him to do. Was he correct in doing that? The vow shouldn't have been followed through with because it was a bad vow to begin with? Does this mean that if we, for example make a vow against God's will, for example to do harm to someone, do we have to follow through with it? It would seem that acting on a sinful vow would just add more sin to the situation. Can you please provide some insight to this story...I'm really worried :-/.

Answer
It is true that Joshua was deceived but he did not knowingly make a sinful vow.  It is also true that the men of Israel should have sought Godís counsel (verse 14).  Based on the deception, Joshua made peace with the Gibeonites (verse 15) and then honored it before God.  Because of the deception, Joshua was caught between two of Godís commandments Ė to destroy the inhabitants of the land so they could rule with peace and honor commitments to God to let the deceivers live.  I believe Joshuaís intentions were good, to do what God would have him do.  Despite the fact that the rulers of Israel acted without Godís counsel, God took care of them and made a positive outcome of the situation.  The Gibeonites were allowed to live, as Joshua promised before God, but they were made to serve God in the temple (verse 27) and later to be part of the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3:7).

The lesson for us is to first seek Godís counsel in everything.  If we pray and read His Word, we will gain insight about the right thing to do from the start.  Secondly, we need to act in accordance with Godís precepts and trust Him to work things out for good (Romans 8:28).

I hope this helps answer your concern.

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Roy Wallen

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Using the Bible as my primary source and references in support of it, I am willing to answer questions on subjects from the Old and New Testaments. My faith is based on biblical Christianity and fundamental views from the Bible. I cannot answer questions about specific sects or religious organizations nor can I address religions outside biblical Christianity. As a Christian for over 40 years, I have studied many aspects of the Christian faith. My particular interests are in creation and the natural processes of the world around us and how they fit with the biblical record. I believe that all Scripture is inspired by God. I believe that there are no contradictions in the Bible and that the Bible is complete in telling us as individuals how we should relate to God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit; our purpose on earth; and how we should live. Greek lauguage study has helped me gain additional insight into the New Testament but most of my reference work is done in English and, to a lesser degree, German.

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Personal Bible study over the years, lessons delivered in Sunday School settings and messages during organized services, and leading Bible study series have prepared me to be comfortable addressing questions from others.

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See directionalhealthcare.com for professional background information.

Education/Credentials
Formal study includes Greek language. I am a layman without a theological degree. Training has come from sitting under the ministry of excellent Bible teachers for my entire adult life, personal study, and selected courses. Secular educational background includes an undergraduate engineering degree, graduate work in engineering and business, and advanced courses in business and theology.

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