Joshua 9:21-27 (JDV)
Joshua 9:21 They also said, “Let them stay alive.” So the Gibeonites became woodcutters and water carriers for the whole community, like the leaders had promised them.
Joshua 9:22 Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said to them, “Why did you deceive us by telling us you live far away from us, when in fact you live among us?
Joshua 9:23 Therefore you are cursed and will always be slaves – woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”
Joshua 9:24 The Gibeonites answered him, “It was clearly reported to your servants that Yahveh your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before you. We greatly feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this.
Joshua 9:25 Now we are in your hands. Do to us whatever you think is right.”
Joshua 9:26 This is what Joshua did to them: he rescued them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them.
Joshua 9:27 On that day he made them woodcutters and water carriers – as they are today – for the community and for Yahveh’s altar at the place he would choose.
The Gibeonites chose to be servants of Israel, rather than die at the hands of the Israelite army, empowered by Israel’s God. Their present freedom would not last, so they sought uninterrupted freedom by becoming attached to Israel as their servants. It is better to serve in the kingdom of God than to face the consequence of the other choice.
Say whatever you will about your personal freedom, would you trade it for your life? What about permanent life?
The irony is, there is no freedom without life, and no permanent freedom without permanent life. God offers you both.
God of freedom, we surrender to your will, because only you offer uninterrupted freedom.