Monday, February 13, 2012

Talk It Out First

Many of you know I like stories, the other day I was reading one from Joshua 22. The Israelites had just finished conquering all the land God had promised them and 2 1/2 tribes were going home back to their land on the other side of the Jordan River. Before they left Joshua reminded them to be true to their God. And off they went.

Immediately after crossing the river the men made an altar. I mean seconds later. On the river in plain view. How could they be so insolent? They had just promised to be faithful to God and His altar was already established! So a few Levites (those responsible for worship) and a few other men went to convince those who had built the altar they were wrong. People were ready for war (and they had just gotten peace days before). But before fighting and dishing out God's wrath, the Levites did something. They asked questions. "Why did you do this?" "How could you disgrace God so?"

The people who had built the altar responded. It was never meant for worship. It was a symbol. A river separated the people and what if their children grew up wondering why they were separated from God and His place of worship? So they built a replica of an altar to remind the people forever they are God's people and will worship Him, no matter how high the river is between them.

A wonderful answer, a great reason to worship, and it could have all led to bloodshed and civil war over a slight misunderstanding. Luckily those in charge but their thinking aside for a moment and asked questions first. The next time we see something we view as wrong, will we do the same?


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