Joshua 22

Joshua 22 has everyone in their new places in the Promised Land.  Joshua is now sending home the 2.5 tribes that came across the Jordan to make sure the rest of the tribes were able to take the land that had been given to them.  The work was now done and Joshua is sending them home.  He calls them together and tells them you “have been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God….God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them”.  The work is done.  We have accomplished the task.  “Therefore turn and go to your tents”.  You can go back to your tribes and return to the land that was given to you on the other side of the Jordan.

But Joshua is clear what it means to go back and to “be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you”.  What does that mean?

–       “to love the Lord your God

–       to walk in all his ways

–       to keep his commandments

–       to cling to him

–       to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul

Want to know how to truly walk well with God?  There is the list – love, walk, keep, cling, serve – 5 action verbs that describe what a relationship with God should look like.

So the troops head home and as they get home they “built there an altar by the Jordan”.  It was a big one “of imposing size”.  What happens next is a failure to communicate.  The tribes on one side of the Jordan – the 9.5 (remember that the tribe of Manasseh was split with half having an inheritance on each side of the river) accuse the two and a half tribes from the other side of the river of creating a false idol.  “Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor….do not rebel against the Lord or make us as rebels by building for yourselves an altar”.   They wanted no part of the experience their ancestors had previously when God became upset with their worship of idols.  They remember that even though it was only really Achan who was at fault, “he did not perish alone for his iniquity”.  Sin spills out onto those around it and there was no desire to have this spill across the river onto the rest of the tribes.

So it escalates and they finally get down to trying to communicate and understand.  Turns out that the altar was really to remember that God had been faithful and delivered them. It wasn’t an idol worship but an altar of remembrance they “called the altar Witness…. it is a witness between us that the Lord is God”.  The ten tribes had made a big deal out of what turns out to be a good thing because they made assumptions.  They thought it was intended for something bad, when in fact the motive was very good.  Oh how we need to learn to ask and seek truth before we make a bunch of assumptions.  Are you communicating with those in your patch so you are understood, and that you understand?  We need to do that!

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