In Joshua 9 the Gibeonites lied to Joshua to get him to promise to spare their lives. Theirs was an intentional, premeditated deception. They went to great lengths to cover the truth. In any court Joshua would not have been required to fulfill his vow because of their deceitfulness yet, he kept his word anyway. What’s that all about? Keeping your word even when you find new information, even when you find someone else was not being perfectly honest or walking in integrity.
Integrity is doing the right thing even if those around you do not. As in this situation, integrity often is not fair “Why should I have to keep my word, be honest, when they lied to me?” Integrity can lead to you getting “the short end of the stick”, a raw deal, taken advantage of. So why would anyone want to walk uprightly?
Integrity grows out of a fear of the Lord – a recognition that I will give account to God for every word I speak (Matthew 12:36), for my thoughts, my attitudes, my actions. The fear of man, which is a trap (Proverbs 29:25), causes me to be more concerned with what men will think, their judgment of me, my reputation in their eyes.
Joshua demonstrated integrity even when those around him where not. The people complained when he kept his vow but he knew the favor of God was more important than the favor of man. He knew God’s opinion was the only one that mattered. He not only believed this, but he walked it out – even when it hurt.
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, .. who keeps his oath even when it hurts,… He who does these things will never be shaken.
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