Friday, January 6, 2012


Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, (Joshua 22:1 KJV)

A bit of history – these Israelite tribes requested, and were given, land to the east of Jordan, but crossed with the remaining tribes. They fought with them and when Joshua disbanded the army, he confirmed their portion of the land and sent them home to their inheritance.  He did have an admonition for them:

But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Joshua 22:5 KJV)

They had promised this to Moses and at the beginning of Joshua’s campaign:

We will pass over armed before the LORD into the land of Canaan, that the possession of our inheritance on this side Jordan may be ours. (Numbers 32:32 KJV)

And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. (Joshua 1:16 KJV)

When they went home, they built an altar by the Jordan, a great altar, and they didn’t attempt to keep it secret.

Now part of the problem the Israelites encountered through the years was their not removing altars built to venerate other gods. As we read Judges, this problem will recur, again and again. Instead of looking to those erroneous altars nearby, they decided to fight over this one altar.  A living example of Jesus’ words:

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7:5 KJV)

They prepared for war before even talking to their brothers.

And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them. (Joshua 22:12 KJV)

Fortunately, instead of starting with instruments of war, the leaders of this congregation started with words.  Explanations were given, accepted and accords were reached.  An opportunity to witness was established.

And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God. (Joshua 22:34 KJV)

I would think this biblical example could be used by church brethren today, wouldn’t you? Do we each have our own Ed altar as a witness to all that the LORD is God?  Willing to display it openly, speak of it, defend it if necessary?  Without taking up arms against brethren?

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