"Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever." -Paul

21 April 2006


by Ben

I read Joshua 19-22.

We have a couple of administrative actions going on in this part of Joshua. More dividing up the land, setting up asylum cities for people who accidentally kill another, and making it so the Levites have a place to live. (The Levites didn't receive a land inheritance because "God is their inheritance") However, the last part of this section is what interested me the most.

The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh are blessed and sent home (they had been given their land before the Israelites crossed the Jordan - see "The Moses Connection" [March 8, 2006]). In a city on the Jordan, they built an alter. This upset many of the other Israelites, who thought that the RG & 1/2 M's were turning their backs on God. They got their religious and military leaders and went to have a talk with them. After some yelling, the RG & 1/2 M's clear up the confusion:

"We built this altar as a witness between us and you and our children coming after us, a witness to the Altar where we worship God in his Sacred Dwelling with our Whole-Burnt-Offerings and our sacrifices and our Peace-Offerings.
This way, your children won't be able to say to our children in the future, 'You have no part in God.'"

The misunderstanding is cleared up, everybody is happy, and they don't end up having a civil war. How nice.

Let's apply this to the church today. We are divided. No questions there. We divide ourselves by denomination (and poke fun at those who aren't like us). We divide ourselves by church. There is no way that any individual Presbyterian church would want to close its doors (even to benefit the larger Presbytery). Our buildings and our memories are too important to us. We all need a reminder that the church has nothing to do with the structure that we hold dinners, small groups, sunday school, or even worship in. And until we fully come to that realization, churches will fail. Fail in the missions they put forth. Fail in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.


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