Summary: To glean lessons from the amazing similarities that exist between two action-oriented Books of Joshua and Acts.
Of Joshua and Acts-Part 2
In the second part of my message on the similarities that exist in the Books of Joshua and Acts, we shall cast the spotlight on some "NEGATIVE INCIDENTS" to start with. Firstly...
Oh yes, there was Achan, who grossly underestimated the omniscience of God, even as greed held sway in his life (Joshua 7) and there were Ananias and Sapphira who too took God’s omniscience lightly even while being swayed by that very same lure of the lucre (Acts 5:1-11). The result? A swift retribution sending the guilty ones’ to an early grave!!! With folded hands, let me plead (I am speaking to myself too) a casual attitude towards God in matters of public obedience can cost highly (Leviticus 10:1)!!!
Oh how much of confusion and commotion Joshua and his co-leaders could have avoided by seeking God’s counsel in matter of entering into a peace pact with the guileful Gibeonites (Joshua 9:1-20), similarly how much of commotion, could Paul and Barnabas have avoided by praying for Almighty’s guidance in the matter of deciding of taking John Mark or not in their second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-39). However sadly they let their personal egos’ get the better of them. It is quite another story that the good Lord used even the lapses of great leaders’ for bringing greater glory to Himself. If not for peace pact with the Gibeonites, eventually that great miracle of the Almighty stopping the sun and the moon in its tracks would not have come about (Joshua 10), similarly but for the parting of ways of Paul and Barnabas, Gospel could not have reached all those places where it was not preached hitherto, with these estranged leaders going in different directions now (Acts 15:39-41). Fast forward to Colossians 4:10, do not we see patching-up of differences?
All said and done, the lesson to be learnt here is, whenever confronted by tricky situations, it would serve the Church leaders better to look prayerfully unto the Lord rather than acting hastily and then repenting at leisure.
In the Book of Joshua, nearing the end we see the Trans-Jordan tribes (with genuine motives) coming up with an alternate altar location (permit me some alliteration) which led to an altercation between them and other tribes (Joshua 22:10-30). Originally the Brazen altar for offering of the sacrifices was there at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1) as a part of the Revered tabernacle. But the Trans-Jordan tribes whilst going to occupy their land on the Eastern side of River Jordan after a 14 year "Conquest of Canaan" with an honest intention had constructed yet another altar resembling the Brazen one hoping it would "unalterably" serve as a "memorial of their Jewish antecedents for all posterity".
However, their motives were not sought initially and the other tribes simply wanted to wipe em’ out for "blasphemy". Fortunately wiser counsel prevailed eventually and their motives behind such a "brazen action" of coming up with a replica of the Brazen altar were sought. When God-honoring reasons were doled out by these tribes at the receiving end of accusations, the anger of the other nine and half tribes was pacified. Similarly knives and daggers were out when the pre-dominantly Jewish Early Church in Jerusalem heard that Peter had visited a "gentile home" of Cornelius (Acts 11:1-3). However, calm and tactful handling of the situation by wise Peter made his critics realize the folly of their ways (Acts 11:14-18).