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The Way to Peace

Words of Faith Final

The Way to Peace

Words of Faith 10-7-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Joshua 22

      [13]  So the Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, to the land of Gilead--to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. [14]  With him they sent ten of the chief men, one for each of the tribes of Israel, each the head of a family division among the Israelite clans.

      [15]  When they went to Gilead--to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh--they said to them: [16]  "The whole assembly of the LORD says: 'How could you break faith with the God of Israel like this? How could you turn away from the LORD and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against him now? [17]  Was not the sin of Peor enough for us? Up to this very day we have not cleansed ourselves from that sin, even though a plague fell on the community of the LORD! [18]  And are you now turning away from the LORD?

     "'If you rebel against the LORD today, tomorrow he will be angry with the whole community of Israel. [19]  If the land you possess is defiled, come over to the LORD's land, where the LORD's tabernacle stands, and share the land with us. But do not rebel against the LORD or against us by building an altar for yourselves, other than the altar of the LORD our God. [20]  When Achan son of Zerah acted unfaithfully regarding the devoted things, did not wrath come upon the whole community of Israel? He was not the only one who died for his sin.'"

       [21]  Then Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh replied to the heads of the clans of Israel: [22]  "The Mighty One, God, the LORD! The Mighty One, God, the LORD! He knows! And let Israel know! If this has been in rebellion or disobedience to the LORD, do not spare us this day. [23]  If we have built our own altar to turn away from the LORD and to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it, may the LORD himself call us to account.

       [24]  "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.

       [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.'

        [28]  "And we said, 'If they ever say this to us, or to our descendants, we will answer: Look at the replica of the LORD's altar, which our fathers built, not for burnt offerings and sacrifices, but as a witness between us and you.'

        [29]  "Far be it from us to rebel against the LORD and turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings and sacrifices, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle."

 

       Israel had been on the brink of civil war. Just as quickly as the peace had been won by the Lord, ten of the tribes were preparing for war against the Eastern tribes! All that had been accomplished was about to be washed away because of misunderstanding.

       The Eastern tribes had built an imposing altar to honor the Lord and remind themselves of their connection to Israel. But the ten Western tribes took this as an affront and a rebellion against the holiness of God. What could be done to avert disaster?

        It would take a delegation. Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, went to the land of Gilead--to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The delegation included ten of the chief men, one for each of the tribes of Israel.

        The Phineas delegation was small, just eleven.  They traveled to Geliloth to bring forward the perceived offense. “How could you break faith with the God of Israel like this? How could you turn away from the LORD and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against him now?”

         Then they listened.

         What they learned was that this idea of rebellion could not have been further from the truth. The leaders of the Eastern tribes declared that this accusation was false. They might have even declared their own war over being offended by the accusation. But they did not.

         In fact, the Eastern tribes declared that the altar was intended as a point of allegiance between East and West and was a monument to their unified commitment to Israel. The altar was set to be a replica of the Tabernacle altar and a reminder to future generations.

          When Phineas and the leaders of the delegation finally understood what was going on, they were pleased. "Today, we know that the LORD is with us because you have not acted unfaithfully toward the LORD in this matter. Now you have rescued the Israelites from the LORD's hand." They apparently realized there would be judgment from the Lord upon them if they made war with their brothers over a false accusation.

          It is amazing how powerful listening can be. It is profound how far understanding can go. Not every issue is resolved through diplomacy, but we do well to start by listening. We often find a way to peace and resolution if only we will be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

 

         Father God, show me how to be a peacemaker in my world. Teach me the patience of the Spirit that is ready to listen and understand rather than jump to conclusions and condemn. Forgive me for the times I have wounded with words. Build in me the Spirit that seeks unity. In Jesus’ Name.

 

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2005, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.