Thursday, August 22, 2013

Err Jordan

The Israelites just finished their initial takeover of the Promised Land and the tribes from the west side of the Jordan River headed home.  When they get home they decide to build an altar that looks very much like the altar that was built for sacrificing to the Lord in the Promised Land. 

The ten tribes of Israel that are on the east side of the Jordan River hear about this and are enraged.  They immediately think that they are worshiping and sacrificing to idols; so they prepare to march over there and wipe them out.  But first they send over a group to talk with them, to remind them of all the senseless harm that has come to their nation because of idol worship.  And this is their response:

“No! We did it for fear that some day your descendants might say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 The Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you—you Reubenites and Gadites! You have no share in the Lord.’ So your descendants might cause ours to stop fearing the Lord.”   Joshua 22:24-25

They had built the altar not for sacrificing but as a reminder.  Upon receiving this new information the ten tribes from the east side decided not to pursue with wiping them out.  They thought this reminder was a great idea.  And at first read I agreed with them. 

I thought what ‘Jordans’ are there in my life that may cause similar problems for my descendants and what altars could I build as reminders?  And before the thought could even come to completion, there was another.  It was not God’s desire for His people to have the Jordan River between them.  They chose for themselves not to cross over into the Promised Land.  They put their descendants in danger.  And this “reminder” altar, that seemed like such a good idea, is more likely to become a stumbling block and a place of idol worship for both sides. 

The better question to ask myself is: “What ‘Jordans’ am I not crossing that will keep my descendants from harm and what altars am I building that could become stumbling blocks for my descendants?”

Father open my eyes clearly so I can see.  Never let me choose to camp on the wrong side of the Jordan or build stumbling blocks for my descendants and others.  Keep me always in your will and obedient to you so these things do not happen. 

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