Week of November 25
Praying For Discernment
Have you ever noticed that spiritual attacks often occur soon after a great spiritual victory? Satan often uses those times when we feel overconfident to trip us. When we become serious about being Christ’s apostles, Satan will work harder to discourage and to deceive us. And that is why we must know how to pray against deception.
Read Joshua 9. The Israelites were returning from a revival meeting, just before they encountered the Gibeonites. Had Joshua prayed for discernment, instead of relying on his own logic, perhaps he would not have been so easily deceived.
Godly wisdom is our weapon against deception: “Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways” (Proverbs 2:12-15).
The Gibeonites knew that they could not defeat the Israelites with military might, so they decided to scheme against them instead. They knew that God’s Word said to destroy the Canaanites, but to covenant with people of distant cities (see Deuteronomy 20). So they disguised themselves as travelers from a distant land, asking for a covenant. The Gibeonites told Joshua, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us” (Joshua 9:6).
Sometimes the people who are most deceptive can quote the Bible as well as we can. They will use passages from the Bible to silence us from speaking the Truth. Have you ever heard people defend their sinful lifestyle by claiming that Christians are to “judge not”? They quote the Bible—but twist the meaning—to deceive us and to intimidate us. The Bible warns us, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 5:6).
The Gibeonites knew the Bible, and they used it to their advantage. If Joshua had sought God’s counsel and wisdom, then perhaps God would have showed him that the “travelers” were Canaanites in disguise. We must always be on guard against those who use spiritual language to seduce us away from the Truth.
Only constant and focused prayer will keep us alert to subtle deception, flattering words, and the scheming of the ungodly. If we try to live as ambassadors for Christ, but don’t lean on God’s wisdom through prayer, then we set ourselves up for failure. “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you” (Proverbs 4:6).
How did Joshua handle his failure? He may have been tempted to break the covenant with the Gibeonites because it was made in deception, but he kept his integrity. He knew that his testimony was more important than revenge. He knew that becoming bitter would not honor God.
Have you allowed yourself to be misled or dissuaded from witnessing for Christ? Have you experienced a failure because you neglected to seek God’s wisdom and discernment? When we ask for God’s forgiveness and persevere in His work, He can bring triumph out of our failure.
Scripture tells us: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5–6).
Spend time in prayer today seeking God’s wisdom and discernment. Seek His forgiveness for the times when you relied on your own understanding instead of asking for God’s help.
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