Joshua Chapter Twenty-Two (Part Two)

Introduction: A key idea in the book of Joshua is that God blesses obedience. Today, we hope to continue our discussion of Joshua’s farewell to the two and a half tribes.

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Read Joshua 22:10-20

F. Joshua’s Farewell Messages. 1. To the two and a half tribes. (Continued) The two and half tribes built an altar on the Jordan River bank. When the other 9 ½ tribes heard about and saw the altar, they assumed that the altar was built out of rebellion.

The 9 ½ tribes gathered to declare war, because they feared that God would punish the entire community for such rebellious sin.

Applications –

- Facts before fights. Notice in vss. 13-14 that there was essentially a fact-finding committee sent to establish the facts of the matter. First, it is always a good idea to make sure you understand the facts, before you attack. This is true of those in our social circles.

And it is extra true when considering an international incident. Second, it is important to have people who can obtain the facts, instead of simply jump to preconceived conclusions. Everything is not as black and white as it may initially appear.

Let’s work on determining the facts, before taking radical actions.

- Dealing with sin. Notice in vss. 16-20 that the people clearly understood that God has a way of punishing the entire body, when one or two parts sin.

In like manner, we should remember that when we claim to be one body of Christ, we are saying that we are in this thing together. This is great, when things are well, because we are being blessed by the hard work of others.

However, this idea also includes our being punished because of our association with sinners. Let’s work on having the wisdom and spiritual courage to deal with sin in God’s family. Speaking the truth in love and progressive discipline are issues to be dealt with in carrying out this application.

Read Joshua 22:21-34

Continuation. In this chapter of Joshua we see the representatives of Reuben, Gad, and the ½ tribe of Manasseh explained themselves to the representatives of the other tribes.

The 2 ½ tribes explained that they built an altar to insure that future generations would know that all 12 tribes fear, obey, and sacrifice to the one God. It was not to be a place of sacrifices but a place of witness. The explanation pleased the 9 ½ tribes and the situation calmed down.

 Applications –

- Communication. Notice in vss. 21-29 that no one can read your mind. You need to communicate, as in the text. Let’s work on communicating what is going on in our thinking. This will allow people to understand why we do what we do. We must not allow pride or fear to stop us from communicating our good intentions.

 - Future generations. Notice in vss. 24-28 that there was a concern for the spirituality of the future generations. It is easy for us to criticize their methods, since we have the privilege of looking back over almost 3,000 years.

However, give them credit for being concerned about the spiritual wellbeing of future generations. When we see how few young people are brought to our Sunday School, children’s worship, and Wednesday ministries, it is not always obvious that we are concerned with the spiritual wellbeing of our young people.

Let’s work harder on helping our young people develop a growing relationship with God, as soon as possible. Building Christian adults out of children is better than trying to rebuild adults into Christians.

 - Reasoning and calming down. Notice in vss. 30-34 that after reasoning, they calmed down. First, give them credit for reasoning with one another, before taking action.

There are too many fights that could have been avoided, if those involved found a way of reasoning with one another.

This is true in families, on jobs, and even in churches. Second, give them credit for calming down. There are too many who allow pride or fear to keep them from calming down.

As believers, we should strive to live peaceable with all people, when we can. Let’s work on reasoning and calming down. 

Especially, where there is active oppression in progress, there are times to stop reasoning and start fighting (i.e., just war and self-defense). However, where possible, we should try reasoning first.  

Conclusion: Let’s work on obeying God. God has much for those who obey His will.

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