In the spiritual struggle we are particularly concerned with “the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:1111Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.). The struggle in Ephesians 6 is not a struggle to conquer the land, but to defend it. Therefore, the description of the armor is also at the end of the letter, after all blessings have been described. It is about staying standing after the victory, which is only possible if we have put on the full armor of God. Only then we “will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:1111Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.).
We also need the armor of God to “be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Eph 6:1313Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.). With his schemes, the enemy often has results in territories where his power is broken. His schemes are more to fear than his strength. With his schemes he seduces the people, but with his strength he meets the Lord.
The people of Gibeon have heard what Joshua did to Jericho and Ai. Therefore they do not seek the battle, but resort to deceit. They work with consideration to save their lives, which they know are in danger. To a certain extent, that is sensible. But there is a better method to save their lives than by trickery. Rahab saved her life and that of her family by faith. This we also see later with a Canaanite woman, so a woman originally belonging to this people under the curse, who asks for mercy (Mt 15:22-2822And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and [began] to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”23But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.”24But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”25But she came and [began] to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”26And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”27But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”28Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.).
With these Gibeonites, however, there is no question of faith. They prefer their own method. They proceed with human caution and use beautiful, impressive language. They speak of the LORD and what He hath done. They present themselves as religious people. Thus they mislead the people of God and gain access to them, which is possible by the unfaithfulness of the people.
Their whole appearance is worn out; everything they have is old. The older something is, the better it is according to the traditionalists. The old church, the old way of doing things. But the old is not simply better because it is old. The old is only better when it comes from the Lord, He Himself is “what was from the beginning” (1Jn 1:1a1What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—). Thus, the old ‘speaking in tongues’ is something that comes to the fore again in Christianity. That is not only old, it is also worn out, it has had its time (1Cor 13:88Love never fails; but if [there are gifts of] prophecy, they will be done away; if [there are] tongues, they will cease; if [there is] knowledge, it will be done away.). These are things that impress the people. But what is worn out must be removed.