Skip to main content

Surely, you can't be serious

There's a story near the end of Joshua that has always struck me as, well, odd.  It's in Joshua 22.  The verses that really draw it out are

The Eastern Tribes' Altar of Witness

10 And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size. 11 And the people of Israel heard it said, “Behold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel.” 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.

Joshua 22:10-12 (ESV)

Let's think about this.  The people of Israel that have grumbled and complained against God.  That, before much longer, will turn away from God completely for a little while, are currently ready to go to war over the construction of an altar by people within their own nation!

We're going to be real quick to be judgmental here.  It seems woefully immature to go off attacking your own people over an altar they've built.  Especially when you find out that the East Side Tribes (those that lived on the east side of the Jordan River) built it to remind themselves and the West Side Tribes that they all serve the same God. 

Yet we do the same things.  We find small details of behavior or finer points of doctrine or even just the labels we attach to ourselves.  Then, we attack.  We attack over ridiculous things.  Without seeking the heart, without examining the real situation. 

Part of the reason for the East Side Altar was fear over the attitude of West Siders, yet do you see the West Siders considering the possibility?  No, they immediately assume the worst of their own brothers, their fellow God-worshippers

In what ways do we strap on swords to attack within our own churches, our own circle of believers?  We have got to learn to focus on what matters the most: the worship of Almighty God and spreading His word so that, since "At the name of Jesus every knee will bow," people have the opportunity to start bowing now and not face judgment for not having done it.

It's time to stop having these arguments that, if we were watching from outside, our response would be "Surely you can't be serious! Arguing over that?"

We need to get serious about what matters.


And stop calling me Shirley.




Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.

First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…