Joshua 9 and Luke 16 both offer examples of shrewdness providing protection. In Joshua chapter 9, the Gibeonites deceive the men of Israel to secure their lives and safety.
3 But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, 5 old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. 6 And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.” (Joshua 9 NKJV)
But really, they came from right next door. Interestingly, chapter 10 provides insight about these Gibeonites.
and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, 2 that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. (Joshua 10 NKJV)
This section offers such a sense of the fear the Lord through His people invoked- that such a mighty, royal city ( men of the city) would humble themselves to be wood cutters and water carriers – the sentence pronounced upon them when their deceit was found out. Ultimately, Israel could not harm them because of the covenant made. Their shrewdness saved their lives.
In Luke 16, the steward is to be cast out for wasting his master’s goods. He secures his future through crafty planning. In the end, this shrewdness is praised.
8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. (Luke 16 NKJV)
9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail,[c] they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? (Luke 16 NKJV)
I ponder these verses. My soul lights upon “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful in much also…” because this theme- the theme of integrity in the secret places yielding a great fruit in the places of light–after a time –has been resonating in my soul. For a while. Yet, I do not understand what it means to “make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.” Do you? And then the chapter speaks:
13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16 NKJV)
Make friends- but don’t serve as master. Be faithful with mammon to show yourself approved for true riches. I do not really understand. Lord, help me!
The Lord wants me to highly esteem what matters to Him. – a lesson taken deeply to my heart right now-
4 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16 NKJV)
In the chapters that move from Joshua 9-13, I see the obedience of Joshua. I feel it, too.
15 As the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses. (Joshua 11 NKJV)
There is peace and well-being in the completeness of his obedience.
Lord, help me to understand Your Word. Open my eyes to see truth that can change my heart. Thank you for Your patient mercy. Help me to always value and prize what matters to You. Help me to understand that money is a symbol… that everything we do and how we handles things is in reference to the true reality: eternity. Thank You for the Cross and Your blood. Thank You for the gospel! Thank You that You live!!!!!!!!!! Amen.