Joshua 22: I am ‘not’ going to insert any application into this read. I truly believe that God will highlight for you what He wants to say to you. But I love Joshua 22- I call it “The Misunderstanding…Again”. It happened before when the Transjordan tribes asked for the land and Moses yelled at them. NOW they are building an altar and they get yelled at again. It’s amazing how quick we are to judge when we don’t have all the facts.
An altar was built that caused quite a stir and almost led to civil war in the newly founded nation of Israel. God prohibited the building of altars other than those He had commanded (Deuteronomy 12). Yet the tribes on the east side of the Jordan River—Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh—constructed an altar. As a result, the western tribes felt the Law had been violated and intended to go to war against their own people.
Deuteronomy 13 is dedicated entirely to making false altars. But it does say “12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town”
Once I saw his name in the chapter I thought “Oh stars”. He is the zealous priest who stabbed the couple dancing the horizontal mambo in the tent. He put his spear through both of them at the same time! Click here if you want to reread it.
Thank heavens the western tribes investigated the situation before they went to war. As it turned out, the altar built by Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh was a memorial to the Lord God. They had built the altar on the east side of the Jordan to show their connection to the rest of the Israelites who lived in the Promised Land. The altar was a sign of unity, not rebellion.
If you don’t realize how close the Transjordan tribes came to being killed then you may not remember the guy mentioned in verse 13: Phinehas.
13 So the Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, to the land of Gilead—
26 “That is why we said, ‘Let us get ready and build an altar—but not for burnt offerings or sacrifices.’ 27 On the contrary, it is to be a witness between us and you and the generations that follow, that we will worship the Lord at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices and fellowship offerings. Then in the future your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You have no share in the Lord.’
Joshua 23 Joshua’s Farwell Speech:
Just like Moses’ speech, there is a reminder of the blessings and curses. I try not to bring the current events into the Blog…however…one of the key points I noticed was individual sins would bring down the whole community. So here are the instructions for
- Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.
- Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.
- So be very careful to love the Lord your God.
- But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.
- If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.”
Chapter 24: Joshua is renewing the Covenant in Shechem. This is the 25th time we read the word Shechem (unfortunately, it was where Dinah was raped). So why is the Covenant being renewed there? Want to read something cool?? Flip to Genesis 12:1-9 or click here. Mind-blowing!
I sound like an infomercial…Wait there’s more! Is this new land for them or did they already have the pink slip on Shechem? Oh, I am unglued with excitement. Read Genesis 33:18-20. They purchased the land a long time ago.
Chapter 24 is a great recap. I bet you do some underlining and God speaks to you about it.
- “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.
- Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped
- But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. (If you can’t make application of this in your life, you need another cup of coffee this morning)
You have seen that 100 times at Hobby Lobby. Now you know the context behind it. ❤️