Google+ 10/08/13 Take Diligent Heed To Do God's Commandment and the Law!

Joshua 22:26-29

 

“So we decided to build the altar, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a memorial.

It will remind our descendants and your descendants that we, too,

Have the right to worship the Lord at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and peace offerings.

Then your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You have no claim to the Lord’

“If they say this, our descendants can reply,

‘Look at this copy of the Lord's altar that our ancestors made.

It is not for burnt offerings or sacrifices; it is a reminder of the relationship both of us have with the Lord.’

Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord 

Or turn away from him by building our own altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings, or sacrifices.

Only the altar of the Lord our God that stands in front of the Tabernacle may be used for that purpose.”

 

In part two of our six-part devotion series entitled, "Now, Go Build My Church!" we turn to Joshua for "building" wisdom.  As we all know, Joshua was God's successor to Moses.  For years, Moses mentored Joshua as they traveled together.  Joshua saw, first hand, the Godly man that Moses was to the Israelites.  When God tapped Joshua on the shoulder, right before Moses died, and told him that he was to continue God's work, Joshua answered the call.  Joshua sends two and one-half tribes across the Jordan river with his thanks.  Joshua's only admonition to the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh was that they take "diligent heed" to the law as espoused by Moses.  Here comes the part we all need to listen to carefully.  Without malice, or God's direction, these tribes built a massive altar next to the Jordan which could be seen by all from afar.  The remaining tribes came to Joshua and complained about the altar that had been built on the other side of the Jordan.  The new altar had not been ordained by God.  Joshua questioned the children of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh.  Their response was enlightening.  Why did they build the altar?  To make sure that no one could ever say that they could not lay claim to God.  We need to be careful with our obedience.  This "construction project" was man-made and not God-inspired.  Had Joshua not interceded in this matter, burnt offerings would have eventually crept onto this altar and would have been blaspheme to God.  We must remember that God had already ordained an altar in front of the tabernacle for this purpose.  As churches, we must remember that before we build, we must discern God's will.  So many churches have, what we would consider to be, beautiful buildings and are struggling to pay for them.  Why?  The answer is simple and also one that no church council, deacon board, vestry or pastor wants to hear.  If God doesn't ordain it, He won't pay for it!  When buildings take the place of ministry, Christian disaster occurs.  The people of Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh thought they were doing the right thing by immediately constructing a gorgeous altar in their midst.  The problem was that they did not listen to God's most important instruction, as proclaimed by His servant Joshua.  Before we "build," we should listen to the very same words.  "Take Diligent Heed To Do God's Commandment and the Law!"