The Bible is full of examples of the wickedness and deceit of humanity. The Christian is called to be wise and discerning so he will not fall into the traps of the evil one. Jesus said, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 ESV)
The reference to serpents hearkens back to the original conspiracy that Satan introduced to Adam and Eve. Satan took the form of a serpent and tricked the first human couple into thinking they would not die if they ate from the forbidden fruit. He said, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” They bought into Satan’s lie and plunged humanity into a world of sin and sorrow that we are still enduring to this day.
The enemies of God have been using the same strategy of deceit and half-truths ever since the Fall. When Joshua brought God’s people into Canaan, they were met by a group of people called the Gibeonites, who lived close by. They sent men dressed in old clothes with dried out supplies to trick Joshua into thinking they were from a distant land. Joshua did not seek advice from the Lord and as a result he made a peace agreement with the Gibeonites, even though God had specifically forbidden alliances with local groups.