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…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Book: Vindicating the Vixens

Well, if Vindicating the Vixens doesn’t catch your attention as a book title, I’m not sure what would. This volume, edited by Sandra L. Glahn (PhD), provides a look at some of the women of the Bible who are “Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized.” As is frequently the case, I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my review.Let’s take this a stage at a time. First stage: book setup. This is primarily an academic Biblical Studies book. Be prepared to see discussions of Greek and Hebrew words, as appropriate. You’ll also need a handle on the general flow of Biblical narrative, a willingness to look around at history, and the other tools of someone who is truly studying the text. This is no one-day read. It’s a serious study of women in the Bible, specifically those who either faced sexual violence or who have been considered sexually ‘wrong’ across years of study.A quick note: this book is timely, not opportunistic. The length of time to plan, assign, develop, and publish a multi…