Higher Wisdom

July 31, 2022

David Sorn

Joshua and the Israelites examine all of the evidence in front of their eyes but fail to actually pray about it. How often do we do the same? Learn how to better hear from God.

Higher Wisdom

July 31, 2022

David Sorn

Joshua and the Israelites examine all of the evidence in front of their eyes but fail to actually pray about it. How often do we do the same? Learn how to better hear from God.



(Start with Renovation Youth slide)

Good morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

Earlier this summer, we had mentioned to you that we had moved our Youth Pastor, Grant Anderson, over to be our Associate Worship Pastor, and to help lead worship here on Sunday mornings.

And so this morning, I’m happy to introduce to you our new Youth Pastor for our 6th – 12th graders, Matt Lubratt (LuBRAHT)

Come on up Matt.

Welcome! Tell us a bit about yourself:

Tell us what you’re most excited about in leading Renovation Youth:

Awesome. Parents, get your students here on Wednesday nights…at 7:00.

They’re going to grow in their faith…and get some solid friends around them

They have 3 more Summer Sessions this summer, and then regular Youth Group starts in September


(Joshua Series Slide)

All right let’s get into our message.

This summer we have had a great time teaching through the Book of Joshua in the Old Testament.

Joshua is the story of the Israelites and how they entered the Promised Land

So far we’ve seen them miraculously cross the Jordan River, they conquered the city of Jericho as the walls came tumbling down.

And after a detour with sin, they come back to the Lord, and conquered the city of Ai as well.

By the way, if you’ve been wondering, why is God allowing such violence anyway with all of these battles in the Promised Land…

Mark your calendars, 2 weeks from today, August 14th, we’re getting into a section where there is a lot of violence and cities conquered, so I’m going to take an entire message, and just speak on the topic of: “Why is the Book of Joshua so violent?”

I think you’re going to want to be here for that one in 2 weeks.

Okay, everybody grab a Bible

(Joshua 9:1-2)

(Page 151)

Maybe you use the Bibles here, or you bring your own to take notes in…

Or even if you take notes in your phone on an app, that’s great.

Grab something you can hold, study, and have out.

(Joshua 9:1-2) – NIV

Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things—the kings in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)— 2 they came together to wage war against Joshua and Israel.

Okay, so in verse 1, when it says that all the kings “heard about these things,” it’s talking about how they Israelites conquered Jericho and Ai.

And the rest of the kings…are afraid.

However, one group of people from a different city, is going to come up with a different strategy.

Let’s keep reading.

(Joshua 9:3-6)

(Page 151)

(Joshua 9:3-6) - NIV

3 However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. 5 They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. 6 Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”

(Title slide: A Higher Wisdom)

We’re going to see in a second, that these guys aren’t from a distant country at all, but only from down the road.

And here’s an important piece of context from earlier in the Old Testament:

See, back when the Israelites were in the desert (before they entered the Promised Land), God told them that could make a peace treaty with anyone outside the Promised Land…

But for those nations inside the Promised Land, they weren’t supposed to make any peace treaties…

…because they were supposed to conquer these people and get back the promised land!.

Let’s see what happens next:

(Joshua 9:7-13)

(Page 151)

(Joshua 9:7-13) - NIV

7 The Israelites said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?”

8 “We are your servants,” they said to Joshua.

But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

9 They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”

Ah ha! So the Gibeonites have this brilliantly devious strategy.

They will trick the Israelites with disguise and…flattery

The ol’ moldy bread trick

But this should be fine, right?

The Israelites won’t fall for this, will they?

Not with their spiritual maturity and what they’ve seen God do lately? Right???


Let’s read verses 14 and 15 now

Verse 14 is the central point of our story. The main point of our text.

(Joshua 9:14-15)

(Page 151)

(Joshua 9:14-15) - NIV

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

So what’s happening here?

In Verse 14, we’re told that Joshua and the Israelites sample the provisions.

They’re investigating the evidence in front of their eyes.

“Oh, hmmm, that bread does look moldy!”

“Whoa! Those wineskins are totally cracked! They must be very old”

“let me see those sandals! You’re right! They are worn out.”

“Yep, we’ve done our due diligence, and yes indeed, the Gibeonites are from far away (certainly not from the Promised Land), let’s sign the peace treaty!”

Sure, they examined the evidence, but what did they miss??

Do you see the end of verse 14.

Look at it.

This is the most important statement of the whole chapter:


And how often do we do the same?

Many of us, even as longtime Christians, we make serious decisions without ever inquiring of the Lord.

Let me give you some examples.

(Title slide: A Higher Wisdom)

What about the number of kids you’re going to have?

You have 2, or 3, and then, usually at a hair-pulling moment, you look out and you say, these (what’s a nice word? Things (that wasn’t nice) are driving me crazy”

What happened to cute and cuddly!

And you say, “We’re done!”

But how many of you actually inquired of the Lord, and know that He told you to be done?

Or say your house or apartment isn’t all that you want it to be.

Maybe you feel that it’s too small, or too old, and so you’ve decided to move.

But how many of you inquired of the Lord before you move?

One of the things I love about what God is teaching us through Joshua 9 is that it shows us the limitations of human wisdom.

It’s not like Joshua and the Israelites did nothing.

Joshua didn’t just immediately say, “Hi I’m Joshua, nice to meet you, let’s sign the treaty in blood!”

No, they grilled the Gibeonites, asked them questions, thoroughly examined the evidence….

But there is a limitation to human wisdom.

Now, Human wisdom IS important.

Read the Book of Proverbs in the Bible.

Most of “The book of Proverbs” is just God reiterating the importance of general human wisdom and common sense.

God gave you a brain for a reason! Use it.

But realize that you don’t (and you can’t) see everything.

But remember that you know a God (that you have access to!!) that knows infinitely more than you do.


Let me give you an example of this:

One of THE best books I read last year was Darlene Rose’s “Evidence Not Seen”

(Show evidence not seen photo)

It’s the story of a missionary in Indonesia during WWII

There’s a gripping part of the book where there are 5 missionary couples in Indonesia, and WWII is just beginning in Asia.

The Japanese are on their way to Indonesia with their many powerful ships

And the leader of the group of missionaries tells the 10 missionaries that there is a boat leaving for America in just a few days.

He tells them they all need to get away for 1 day, and fast and pray, and seek the Lord to ask God if need to get on the boat.

And then the leader asked them to submit to him on paper, privately, what the Lord told them to do.

He said that they HAD to know their answer was from the Lord, not their spouse…so do it separately.

So they all go off and pray.

The next day their submit their answer on a slip of paper to him.

And 10 out of 10 write down the same thing.

They write that the Lord told them to NOT get on the ship, but to stay in Indonesia.

The next day, they tearfully watch the ship leave for America and safety as the Japanese are closing in on their island.

But 3 days after that ship left the harbor for America, it was torpedoed by a Japanese missile, and everyone on board died.

Now, if you were in their situation, human wisdom would have said, “Get out right now. Why stay in a country that’s going to be conquered??”

But as followers of the one true God and His Word, they KNEW, that human wisdom only knows so much…

…and so they accessed a higher wisdom.

I think that Joshua chapter 9 is an important chapter for this day and age, and even for many of the people in this room.

Many of you are quite educated; some of you have been quite successful at work.

And because of that, you’re even more inclined to have a fairly high trust in your own ability to make good decisions.

But I urge you to see God’s truth in this chapter: Human wisdom only goes so high.

And as Christians, we’re called to walk by faith, not just by sight.

And that is because there are some things coming up in your life that you just can’t see, but God from His perspective, has a HIGHER WISDOM, and He can see them!

God knew very well that the Gibeonites were from just down the road, BUT NOBODY ASKED HIM!

And so the question I want you to ask yourself this morning is this:

What decision am I NOT praying about right now?

What decision, like Joshua in chapter 9, have you NOT inquired of the Lord yet?

Maybe it’s about work?

Someone you’re thinking about dating…even marrying?

Maybe it’s a parenting decision you have to make?

Have you truly sought God’s wisdom on it?

Or, are you making the same mistake of the Israelites and only examining the evidence in front of your eyes?

And it isn’t just that God’s wisdom gives you a little bonus boost in wisdom…and that’s it

No, realize that if we DON’T seek God’s “Higher wisdom,” we will experience the consequences from our arrogance of thinking we know best.

That’s what happened to the Israelites in Joshua 9.

Let’s keep reading.

(Joshua 9:16-21)

(Page 151-152)

(Joshua 9:16-21) - NIV

16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the Lord, the God of Israel.

The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the Lord, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that God’s wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.” 21 They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers in the service of the whole assembly.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.

(Title slide: A Higher Wisdom)

There are consequences to not seeking God’s wisdom.

And to make matters worse, next week (in Joshua 10) we’re going to see the other tribes of the area take advantage of this.

They’re going to attack the Gibeonites, and force the Israelites to honor their treaty and defend the Gibeonites.

And so it isn’t just that you are missing out on a higher wisdom by not seeking the Lord…

No, we suffer when we try and lead our own lives with our own limited, human wisdom...just like the Israelites did

Trust the Lord my friend.

His wisdom is infinitely higher than yours.

And Christian, you have access to it!


So how do you access it?

How do you “inquire of the Lord?”

If you have a decision to make, how do you hear from God?

There are 3 main ways to hear from God, and you should use all of them:

If you’re going, “I need to hear from God on something…write this down…use all of these!”

3 Main Ways to hear from God:

#1: Read His Word

Sometimes we overcomplicate “hearing from God” and forget this very important step.

Many of our answers are already right in Scripture.

We say, “God should I share my faith with my friend?”

You know what it says?

“YES! No need to ask!”

But on many issues of life, the Bible already has lots of advice for you!

You don’t always need a new and special revelation from God.

And the other thing about the Bible is that this is no ordinary book!

It’s divinely inspired.

We’re told in Hebrews that it is LIVING and ACTIVE.

And because that’s true, when you open up the Bible each day, I want you to always pray first (even if it’s for 3 seconds)

Say, “Lord, speak to me through your word. Make these words jump off the page and into my heart”

Speak to me!

And that leads us to the 2nd main way you can inquire of the Lord (like Joshua needed to)

3 Main Ways to hear from God:

#1: Read His Word

#2: Ask God to speak to your mind

This is often how we expect God to speak to us when we inquire of Him.

And He can indeed speak this way.

For example: When I felt the Lord calling us to start presenting the Gospel every week as a church, this is how the Lord spoke to me.

But it was specifically through repetition.

I literally couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I’d stop to pray, and it was like God wouldn’t allow my mind to go and think about other things.

I’d wake up in the middle of the night, and it would be the only thing on my mind.

So sometimes God just impresses something strongly on your mind.

The challenge is though, “How do you know it’s Him, and not you?”

All I can say briefly is that as you walk with Him more and more years, the Bible says that God’s sheep learn to recognize the shepherds voice.

I remember when I was a young Christian, I was working in an elementary school as a student teacher…

We had a staff meeting that morning, and the principal gave a very hard, and stern talk to the teachers, but she did an absolutely fantastic job.

Later that day, I was walking through the office of the school, and I felt a STRONG thought in my head say, “Tell the principal that you thought she did such an amazing job”

And I thought, “Um, no. That’s weird. I’m just a 22-year old student teacher”

And even though I was like 70% sure that was God speaking to me, I said “No,” to that ideas

And as I walked by her office (in disobedience), I literally felt sick to my stomach.

So I turned around, walked into her office and said, “I know that was a really hard subject, but wow, I just feel like I needed to tell you that you did an amazing job”

And she starts to tear up, and she says, “I can not tell you how badly I needed that encouragement this morning!”

Okay, that’s the second way, here’s the 3rd way we inquire of the Lord on a decision:

3 Main Ways to hear from God:

#1: Read His Word

#2: Ask God to speak to your mind

#3: Ask other Christians to speak into your decision

The Holy Spirit lives in each and every Christian, and often the best way you will hear from God is through the Spirit speaking through other Christians.

When I have big decisions to make for this church, I don’t just go into a desert somewhere and ask God to shout out loud.

Plus, where’s the nearest desert anyway?


No, when I need to make a tough decision, and I need Higher Wisdom:

I’m in God’s Word…every day, asking for God to speak.

I’m asking him to speak to my mind, and my heart.

And I’m believing that God can speak through other believers to me…so I’m asking for their wisdom!

One of the biggest decisions I ever faced as a leader was trying to find land for this church back when we used to meet at Northpoint Elementary School.

We knew of this property on Lexington & 125th, but honestly, it was just out of our price range.

And yet, Barbara Mahr, who has been a key board member of this church for a long time, and a spiritual leader of this church…

…kept saying to me, and to our leaders, for literally over a year, “Lexington & 125th.”

God is telling me something about Lexington & 125th

I was thinking about her saying that this week, and I remembered Barbara had emailed our land team about this very subject, and like the nerd I am, I never delete an email.

And so I went and found this email from years ago:

And in the email, Barbara writes me and says, “Again, it seems like whenever I contact anyone (about our land search), I keep running into this location (Lexington & 125th)

And I write her back with a curmudgeon’s faith and say, “HI Barbara. I’ll continue to pray about this, but you may be right. The real challenge is, we just can’t afford that price. It’s listed at $6/square foot, we can really only afford $4/square foot, which is a massive difference.”

You want to know what we ended up bought this property for a few months later

Even cheaper! $3.85/square foot.

$600,000 less than it was listed for!

I was like Joshua and the Israelites, “Listen everyone, I’ve examined all of the evidence…here’s the math! I’ve used MY wisdom, and I’m telling you, “It’s just not possible”

But some of our team members were saying, “There’s a HIGHER WISDOM than what we can see with our human eyes”

And that is why it is SO IMPORTANT that you are letting God speak through other Christians in your life!

That’s ALSO why it’s so important for you to be in a House Group in the Fall.

Church is so much more than just coming to a Sunday service.

You need other Christians around you that God can speak through to you!

And so the point is this:

You have decisions to make, and God has a higher wisdom to give you.

Ask for it my friend.

Read His word

Ask Him to speak

And listen to trusted Christians He’s put around you.

Let me pray now that God would speak to all of us.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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