“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” —Joshua 9:14
How easily is caution thrown to the wind among the Lord’s people! Caution should have been as frontlets before their eyes, especially after Achan’s sin following the fall of Jericho (Joshua 7); and the outcome at Ai because of Achan’s covetous disobedience.
Often things appear one way on the surface and are, in reality, quite different. Jesus described the scribes and Pharisees as “whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).
Likewise, the men of Gibeon made themselves to appear one way on the surface, wearing old clothes, donning worn out shoes, and torn wineskins and moldy bread in old sacks, as if they had come from a long, long way off. That, however, wasn’t the case. Gibeon was only a few miles southwest of Ai.
Certainly, there are times when we should act immediately, especially when we are moving by the Spirit and with the leading of the Lord. Such was the case with Moses when Pharaoh’s army was bearing down on the children of Israel and the people were pressed against the Red Sea. Moses wanted to pray, but God said that it was time to act, Exodus 14:15,
And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
When the opportunity is before us, however, as with the children of Israel in Canaan, there was time to seek the Lord; it was essential to seek Him.
When we have not sought the Lord for His direction when the opportunity is available to do so, we might speak our own mind and speak independently of Him. Such was the case with Simon Peter when the Lord Jesus and His disciples returned to Galilee. In Capernaum the customs officials asked Peter if the Lord paid tribute taxes, Matthew 17:25-27,
He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: —Isaiah 55:6