Text: Joshua 22:1-20 Theme: The Israelites were ready to go to war against perceived rebellion and sin. Key verses: “So the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh left the Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan to return to Giliead, their own land…When they came to Geliloth near the Jordan…(they) built an imposing altar there by the Jordan. And when the Israelites heard…the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them.” (v. 9-12) “So the Israelites sent Phinehas…to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Mannaseh.” (v. 13) “When they went to Gilead…they said to them: ‘The whole assembly of the Lord says: ‘How could you break faith with the God of Israel and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against him now? Was not the sin of Peor enough for us?” (v. 15-16) “When Achan…acted unfaithfully regarding the devoted things, did not wrath come upon the whole community of Israel? He was not the only one who died for his sin.” What God said to me: Dwayne, I love it when my people get riled over their sin. I don’t see it very often. ButÂ sin in the camp and among the churchÂ should always cause you to be angry and determined to eliminate it. Granted, this was a misunderstanding on the part of the 10 tribes. Nonetheless, they did exactly what they should have done. First,Â when they first heard about the altar, they assumed it meant rebellion and they got appropriately upset and ready to act against it.Â Second, rather than immediately attacking them, they sent godly messengers to try to reason with and win back their brothers. You see, Dwayne, they were detemined to erradicate sin among them. Why? Because they still remembered my fierce anger and judgement against them in the desert when they turned to Baal of Peor. They also still had the horrible memory of losing 36,000 men to their enemies because of Achan’s sin and then of watching Achan and his entire familyÂ stoned and burned. The Children of Israel at that time clearly understood the seriousness of sin, and they wanted no part of it. What will it take today to remind my people of my utter disgust at their sin? What must I do to wake them up and rile them up again? Mind you, that is a rhetorical question. For, in fact, I know exactly what must be done. And by my mercy and power, I will do what is needed to bring my flock back to me. Those who continue to ingore myÂ warnings and gestures of love will be destroyed “and that without remedy.” What I said to God: Holy God, You are the Mighty One, the Maker of heaven and earth and the Master of all creation. You reign on high and forever. I humble myself before You, my Savior and Shepherd. Help me to respond with anger and determination when I see my brothers and sisters in sin. May I not judge them or be vindictive toward them. Rather, I want to be angry at their sin, yet loving for their souls. That is Your heartbeat – that none perish but that all come to repentance. And may I be especially careful not miss the pole in my own eye as I look for the speck in someone else’s. Oh, how we need You every hour! Forgive us and change us today.
26. November 2007 Joshua 0