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Summary: Is distrust causing problems between you and other? You are not the first to have this problem. It almost caused a civil war after a great conquest had taken place. A closer look may help us to avoid a similiar situation.

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It's Ed Instead

Almost a Tragedy

Assumption and Presumption

Joshua 22:1-34

vs. 34

34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God. {Ed: that is, A witness} (KJV)

34 Y los hijos de Rubén y los hijos de Gad pusieron por nombre al altar Ed; porque es testimonio entre nosotros que Jehová es Dios. (RVG04)

Here is a story of an altar that almost caused a war.

Joshua was a great leader used of God to lead the Israelites into the promised land. Here, at the end of the book, the Hebrew children have full control of the Canaan land and things seem to be fairly well settled down.

I. Commendation and Dismissal

The tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half of the tribe of Manessah had been faithful for seven years now in fighting in behalf of their brethren. In Numbers 32, we find that these 2 1/2 tribes had decided to stay on the other side of Jordan since they were already established in that land. However, they had agreed to fight with their brethren for the conquering of Canaan. Joshua thanked them and commended them for their faithful help.

Now it was time for these 2 1/2 tribes to return home. It looked like it was going to be a happy enough ending.

II. Pausing to Make a Memorial (v. 10)

Trouble started brewing all because of an altar that the 2 1/2 tribes decided

to build at the crossing of the Jordan River.

The men, with good intentions, built an altar to commemorate the victory that they shared in while fighting side by side in unity with their brethren.

III. Distrust and Assumption (v.11)

The idea of "Out of sight--out of mind" can be quite sobering. Some probably began to doubt almost immediately that their "divided" brethren would continue in the "right way". When one has that mentality, it does not take much for someone to feel a rumour or small bit of news is proof of their feelings.

IV. A Rumour gone Awry (v. 12-16)

How quickly unity can fall apart. After seven years of being buddy soldiers and in a few hours or days, they are ready to attack one another.

Israel, rightly so, had made a law against setting up altars of sacrifice in multiple locations; they knew that would lead to idol worship. The only acceptable altar was the one in the Tabernacle.

V. Accusation of Rebellion (v. 16-19)

What had been done in love and gratefulness was now being viewed as rebellion and a point of division.

VI. Cool Headed Communication (v. 20-29)

If the communication would have been carried out ahead of time, the tensions would have never gotten to this critical level. It may take a little of your time but it can save so much heartache later.

The 2 1/2 tribes respond in a mild mannered way, explaining that the altar they had built, was really a memorial. It was not for burning sacrifices. It was for future generations to understand that even though the Jordan River separated them geographically, they served the same Lord Jehovah.

Ed = a witness

A lesson about Trust.

A man with twin boys owned a mercantile store that prospered well. The man died and his sons carried on the business. One day a dollar was left on top of the cash register while one of the men had to step outside for a moment. Upon returning, the dollar was gone. One brother accused the other of taking it. This resentment grew until they could not work together any longer. They build a wall down the middle of the store and now it was two separate businesses. A few years later, a man drove up and walked inside. He asked if the store was the same one that existed here some years ago. Finally, he stated that as he had been a hobo, he had come inside the store and found a dollar bill laying on the cash register and no one around so he took it and ran. Since that day, he never had peace, so he came back to ask forgiveness. The store owner said, "Could you please go next door and tell that same story to my brother. Within a few minutes, two men who looked very much alike, were crying and begging each other forgiveness.


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