by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Joshua 9:3-16
I. Some people don’t deal with others in a direct fashion
A. Stating their goal would not allow them to reach their target because they know it would be rejected, so they manipulate others
B. While both men and women engage in craftiness, it is often a complaint of parents of teenage girls.
1. Boys tend to think that as they get bigger and stronger that force is the way to get what they want
2. Girls tend to use their skills in language
A. The Gibeonites - Joshua 9:3-6
1. The people even suspected that it might be a trick - Joshua 9:7
2. The problem is that they took them at their word - Joshua 9:12-15
3. They didn’t discover their error until three days later - Joshua 9:16
4. Why the elaborate scheme? - Joshua 9:24
B. The Samaritans - Ezra 4:1-2
1. They volunteered to help with the building project, but they were not Israelites, they were foreigners transplanted into Israel.
2. When Zerubbabel rejected their offer, we find their true nature coming through - Ezra 4:4-5
3. Nehemiah ran into a similar plot - Nehemiah 6:1-4
4. When one scheme failed, they tried another, threatening to charge them with rebellion - Nehemiah 6:5-7
C. The Priests against Jesus - Luke 20:19-22
1. The question was not an honest one. It was an attempt to manipulate Jesus into make a statement they could exploit
2. But Jesus knew them for what they were - Luke 20:23-26
III. Craftiness is lying by not disclosing the critical elements
A. It was by craftiness that Satan deceived Eve - II Corinthians 11:3
1. Such shouldn’t surprise us. Jesus declared that Satan was a liar - John 8:44
2. He uses lies to manipulate people into sin.
3. If we truly understood the consequences of sin, then who would be foolish enough to engage in sin? But Satan dresses sin up in attractive ideas to lead us into a trap.
B. So we read about the naive young man trapped by the cunning seductress - Proverbs 7:10-11
1. He is so taken, he doesn’t realize the end - Proverbs 7:21-23
2. How many prostitutes would get business if they told potential customers, “I’ve several diseases that I’m willing to sell to you. You’ll have some momentary fun while catching them and then suffer years of agony afterwards”?
3. Proverbs 7:24-27
C. We need to be on guard against the deceitfulness of sin - Hebrews 3:12-13
IV. The motivation behind cunning
A. Deceit became a major problem in Israel - Jeremiah 9:4-6
B. People will use lies to gain wealth - Proverbs 21:6
1. In a sense, it is a form of laziness – gaining what you did not work for - Jeremiah 17:11
C. But it is also a form of aggression - Hosea 12 7
1. Thus the poor are often a target - Amos 8:5-6
2. Imagine people so greedy that they are willing to extract money from those who are least able to afford to lose what they have.
D. Let me give you a modern example - the gambling industry
1. They offer glitzy opportunities for people to gain instant wealth
2. It is justified by tying some of the proceeds to “good” projects or charities
3. But the reality is that it is a tax on people who can’t do math
a. It attracts the poor with hopes of riches, but it makes the poor poorer
b. It destroys communities as it attracts the unsavory element looking for easy targets.
V. Ending craftiness
A. Expose it - II Corinthians 4:2
1. Craftiness exists in half-truths and hidden motives.
2. This is how Nehemiah handled it - Nehemiah 6:8-9
3. In our dealings we need to be open and honest even if that doesn’t get us all that we may want - Ephesians 5:11
B. Educate yourself and others - Ephesians 4:11-15
1. This is how Jesus handled those attempting to deceive him. He taught those around him how to recognize the truth - Luke 20:26
2. Not only were the crafty stumped, but those who heard learned.
C. If you can, turn the tables
1. In a sense, Jesus did this by turning clever arguments back on the arguers.
2. This is how God deals with the crafty - I Corinthians 3:19-20
3. It is the nature of people who spend time deceiving others to think that everyone else is a fool.
D. But more importantly, the crafty should not be allowed to benefit
1. Even Job’s so-called friends understood this - Job 5:12
2. When those of Gibeon were caught, they became slaves for generations thereafter - Joshua 9:27