Close Connections

Brave hearts, the close fellowship you keep will impact your walk with Jesus.

God cares very much about the people we come into a covenant type relationship with.

Proverbs 12:26 says, “A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

Don’t get me wrong—God wants us to love everyone and minister whom he has called us to, but close fellowship is only for a few.

Be Cautious about Your Alliances

The Israelites were living in enemy territory, and so they had to be cautious about their relationships. Likewise, this is not our home, believers. We need to be cautious about our close alliances. This is not a call to paranoia—but I am urging you to be wise.

Love everyone, but do not compromise when it comes to choosing your close, binding relationships.

Sometimes discerning those relationships can be deceptive because the appearance people portray on the outside does not reflect the heart. They look for weaknesses in your soul to gain control over and capitalize on you. 2 Timothy 3:5­–7 from The Message translation describes these types of people:

“They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they are animals. Stay clear of these people. These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of the unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself “truth.” They get exploited every time and never really learn.

Inside of the church today we have people that are “religious” only on the outside (Acts 20:29, Matthew 7:15, Jude 12–16). They look like innocent “sheep,” but inside, they have ulterior motives. Often their motive is to have control over you in order to gain a following for themselves. The only person you surrender your free will to is the Lord.

The Gibeonites deceived the Israelites by their outward appearance to gain a covenant relationship. Apparently, they found out about God’s command to not leave any survivors (Deuteronomy 20:16–17). Even though they lived only five miles from Jerusalem, they decided to protect themselves by posing as foreigners from outside of Canaan.

The Gibeonites wore tattered and patched clothing and brought food that would suggest they had journeyed a long way.

  • Their wineskins were cracked and mended.
  • The bread was dry and moldy.

The Gibeonites cleverly offered themselves as Israel’s servant in exchange for a peace treaty covenant. If they could convince the Israelites they were not neighboring Canaanites, perhaps they could build a lasting safety net by persuading the Israelites to form a covenant relationship with them. The Isrealites examined the evidence, and everything suggested the Gibeonites were foreigners. Based on the outside evidence, the Israelites made a covenant with the Gibeonites.

However, the Bible says that the Israelites made this decision without inquiring of the Lord. While we can see the outside appearance, only the Lord can discern the heart (John 2:24). Furthermore, our hearts can deceive us—especially inside of relationships (Jeremiah 17:7)!

Look to God for Discernment

Sometimes we make decisions based only on what we see with our natural eyes. God wants us to see with our spiritual eyes by abiding in him and looking to him for discernment. Just because something looks good and the circumstances line up, it is not necessarily God’s choice for us.

Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

If Joshua had inquired of the Lord, he would have learned this was not a covenant relationship he needed to form.

At some point in our lives, most of us, like the Israelites, have experienced the devastating effects of a wrong relationship. I have been there and it was the greatest mistake of my life. How about you?

Maybe as soon as three days after your marriage you realized you had made a mistake.

Perhaps you have entered into a business relationship with someone who did not share your values.

Could it be that some of your friends encouraged you to sin instead of helping you make right choices? Or maybe a close friend you trusted betrayed you, and now you see that you never should have trusted this person in the first place?

Know That God Can Redeem Anything

If you currently feel trapped in a relationship that does not honor God, know that he can redeem anything. God turned the Israelites’ trouble into hope by turning the curse of the Gibeonites into a blessing. When Joshua fought for the Gibeonites, he wiped out five key kings at one time! Many years later, the Gibeonites were still the Israelites’ servants and eventually helped Nehemiah rebuild the temple.

Ultimately, the Israelites were not trapped by entering the wrong relationship—and neither are you.

Cry out to God and watch him deliver you. Moving forward, seek the Lords wisdom with whom you share a close walk.

Love everyone, but choose your covenant relationships wisely. Set boundaries so you can say yes to God. Pray for discernment so that your close relationships will empower you—not devour you!

Nourish Scripture: Joshua 9

Blog written by Aliene Thompson. Aliene Thompson is the founder of Treasured Ministries and the Author of the Nourish Bible Study Series. © 2019 Treasured Ministries.