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Joshua 22:21-23:16

An altar is a place of exchange. In the case of Israel, their alter was a place where they exchanged their personal and national sins for God’s righteousness through daily blood sacrifices. For the 2 ½ tribes, their memorial, their large memorial was to be a reminder to whom? What one says and what one’s true intentions are is two separate things. It can be said that one’s actions speak so loudly that what is being said is drowned out. So unless we know what is truly in their hearts, we cannot discern their true intentions. However, we do have a record of what happened to both those on the east of the Jordan and those on the west. Their fruit, like our fruit gives evidence of what was in the heart.

The tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh had requested land not intended as their Promise, to be there substitute Promise. So what was the real intent of this memorial/altar. Had they since realized after really seeing the Promise that God had for them, that they had made a mistake and were to proud to say so? The problem with “memorials” is this: unless one is interested in history, they either become a place for pigeons to sit on and/or they become part of the scenery and all meaning is lost except by the tourists and the lovers of history and architecture.

To truly keep your mind focused on something, one must have a heart felt love for what is before you. Altar or no altar, memorial or no memorial the issue at hand is what is going on in the heart of both the 2 ½ tribes, east of the Jordon, and the 9 ½ tribes on the west. That is the same predicament we have today. Whether we have statues/paintings/icons of those, we have decided by consensus, to be godly saints, or we have sparse places of worship with plan walls, the issue is and has always been what is going on in the heart.

We justify our actions by appearances; GOD examines our motives. Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to GOD than religious performance. (Proverbs 21:2-3 MSG)

Grace and peace,

I just heard a miinister say.. "God wants us to be honest with him in our emotions. We may want to be right but God wants a righteous heart. If we claim to be without sin and don't recognize our sin. How can one change? John 1:9 " if we claim to be without sin , we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" . So first come clean before God. Psalms 24:4 . "He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Who does not lift up his soul to an idol. Or swear by what is false" . Don't be controlled by your past. Be set free from that prison or what you are hanging onto. Not being honest keeps us locked up and affects our relationships. We can't love others but end up destroying others by criticism.

Mike and everyone,
In Joshua's farewell, he mentioned seven times the idolatrous nations still left in Canaan. He knew they would be a snare to Israel, so he prescribed three safeguards. (taken from "footnote b Joshua 23:11" of the Amplified Bible in Biblegateway.com)
1, The Israelites must bravely follow and obey God’s word:
"So be very courageous and steadfast to keep and do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning not aside from it to the right hand or the left "(Josh. 23:6 Amp Bible).
2, They must vigilantly and continuously separate from the Canaanite nations:
"That you may not mix with these nations that remain among you, or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them." (Josh. 23:7 Amp Bible).
3, They must cleave to the Lord with real and fervent love:
But cling to the Lord your God as you have done to this day.
Be very watchful of yourselves, therefore, to love the Lord your God.(Josh. 23:8,11 Amp Bible)
What a wonderful, much-needed reminder to the believers today!
Are we living too comfortable a life as Christians, that we are not setting these safeguards against idols?
And the consequences are spelled out clearly to us:
11 So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God. 12 For if you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you, and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you,
13 know with certainty that the Lord your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you; but they will be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you. (Joshua 23:11-13 NASB)
In order to dwell in the land of blessing that the Lord has given us,
we must do our part to guard our heart against all temptations and snares.
We must take heed, diligently, very carefully love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul.
Father, please help us as we strive to do so!


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