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: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

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…

Sermon Recap for October 14

Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: are stockpiled here:!