Joshua 22:21-23:16, Luke 20:27-47, Psalms 89:14-37, Proverbs 13:17-19
Today is the 21st day of April welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I’m Brian it is wonderful to be here with you today like it is every day in our little safe place around the globe…Global Campfire as we gather to take the next step forward like we do every day. And like we do every day we’ll go back to the point that we left off and pick up from there, which leads us back to the book of Joshua. And by way of reminder, yesterday the 2-½ tribes who were allowed to…to have the land on the east side of the Jordan River as long as their…their men, their warriors would cross the Jordan and assist the other tribes, that has…that has been accomplished. And, so, they have been dismissed, allowed to return to the Jordan and cross back over the Jordan to the other side to their ancestral territory. And, so, they do. They leave. They go to the Jordan River and then they construct this altar on the west side of the Jordan River before they cross, which has caused a bunch of confusion. And, so, the tribes on the west side of the Jordan have gathered together to kind of talk it over and they decided they need to go down to the other tribes immediately because if they’re doing what they think they’re doing it’s going to be civil war and there’s gonna be war among the tribes because what it looks like is that the tribes that are going back to the other side of the Jordan are already breaking covenant with God and covenant with the other tribes. And, so, that’s where we will pick up the story. Emissaries have come to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half of Manasseh asking what is going on here. Why are you breaking faith with God and us already? And that’s where we pick up. Joshua 22 verse 21 through 23 verse 16 today.
Okay. So, it’s taken a couple of days for us to kinda move through the story that we moved through today that we completed today in the book of Joshua. And, so, basically this scene takes place back at the Jordan River, this…this nearly mythic River that has so much…so much history and symbolism in the Scriptures. The tribes of Reuben and Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh are back at the Jordan River having been dismissed from their service of helping the other tribes settle the land. There by the Jordan River they erect a replica of the altar and they do this as a memorial something we have talked about before, something that is it repeated throughout the Scriptures, setting up stones or creating something that causes remembrance when people pass by that way. And, so, they’re just kind of following with tradition here and erecting an altar. And their intention is that they are one with the people on the other side of the Jordan. They worship at one altar. They worship one God. They belong together because they fear that as the generations go by people are gonna forget, and the Jordan is going to become this mighty boundary line and there’s going to come a day when the children of Israel look at the other children of Israel and the other side of the Jordan and say you’re not one of us, you’re not part of us. You have no belonging to us, you have no worship of the Lord, you have no share in the Lord. And, so, that they make this memorial to be a witness between the two that they all do belong together. Meanwhile, the other tribes on the western side of the Jordan River who are settling their land here about this, begin to gather and discuss this, begin making assumptions about what is going on and make a determination that they will have to go and annihilate those 2-½ tribes for breaking faith with God and with the rest of the children of Israel. Had they attacked them based upon the rumor and assumptions we’d be reading quite a different story that would’ve been unbelievably tragic, to say the least. Thankfully they…they decided that they needed to verify their assumptions before they could proceed. And, so, they sent messengers to get answers and those answers changed the story because Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh explained why they built the altar and what it was to represent. They weren’t rebelling against God or anybody. They didn’t make an altar to be worshiped upon or to have sacrifices slain upon. It was a witness, a memorial, a reminder. They were brothers. They were sisters. They were family. They belonged together, which gives us a beautiful picture of reconciliation and the bit of the story that we’re moving through, but also an invitation, as the Bible always does, to…to become the mirror that pears into our souls as we look back at our own reflection and our own lives. Rumor and assumptions destroy relationships, especially when we believe them and do not verify them because we then act upon and believe something that is not true. We invent a false reality, but about somebody or somebody’s or some people group or whatever. And when we act on those rumors and assumptions in negative ways relationships are destroyed. This is what we see here back at the Jordan River once again between the tribes of Israel. Had the tribes attacked Gad and Ruben and the half tribe of Manasseh a lot of people would’ve died for no reason other than a false reality was created. In fact, let’s take this symbolism of the Jordan River and look close at it. They’re back at the Jordan River, the very place they had been traveling toward for centuries to cross into the promise and into their freedom. Had the children of Israel attacked each other at that Jordan River they would have destroyed each other. They had just experienced victory and conquest throughout the promise land and they would’ve gone back to the Jordan River and annihilated each other. There would probably be people living on both sides, but they would never be the same. They would never be the same after that. And so often we find ourselves back at the point of our freedom again carrying in assumption and rumor and being willing to burn the place down. Rumors and assumptions destroy relationships, but we seem modeled by the children of Israel today was a rumor and assumption, and then a pause, a step back and wisdom flood sin, we should probably verify this. And when they do the assumptions and rumors melt away into actual reality. Let’s take this lesson from the ancient people of God who have given us this beautiful story and its multiple layers that we can apply them into our lives.
Holy Spirit come into this we ask, we beg. Assumption and rumor are currency in our culture, and we trade this these bits of false information all over the place all of the time and we are guilty because it’s tasty. It’s like we’re getting inside secret knowledge to pass around. It’s also poison. Help us to avoid the poison of assumption and rumor in our lives and in our relationships, knowing that these kinds of things can destroy relationships and cause us to be at odds with our brothers and sisters who we belong with. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
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Community Prayer and Praise: