Friday, February 18, 2011

post entry by Daniel.

I love the beauty of my husband's writing. The Lord was really stirring things in him recently as he was reading a passage in Joshua. So, Daniel put pen to paper and wrote out his thoughts. Enjoy the read and be challenged, inspired.

Are you willing to go to war with your brothers?

So the other day, I was reading something in Joshua (chap 22) I had never read before. Backdrop: the Israelites had just entered the Promised Land and were wiping out all the enemies around them. Joshua was divvying up the land among the tribes, and the tribes were starting to occupy their new land, build homes, familiarize themselves with their new surroundings, find the nearest Starbucks, etc.

Well, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh decided to build an imposing altar at Geliloth. As it turns out, they were building this altar as a memorial to show that they belong to the Lord, that they worship the God of Israel in the Temple, that they have an inheritance.

However, the rest of the Israel had heard that they were going to build an altar, and it made everyone nervous. They were afraid that they were building this altar so they could make their own sacrifices, and that they could be turned aside from the LORD by pagan practices. They were ready to go to war against them. Selah. They were ready to go to war with their brothers.

They sent a delegation led by Phinehas the priest to speak with them before they sent an army to bust ‘em all up. They said essentially, “how could you do this? What are you trying to do, get us all killed? If you sin, it affects us all. Don’t you remember when Achan disobeyed God and kept some of the gold for himself? We were all affected by his sin. That’s why we were torn apart by Ai. Why are you trying to destroy all of us? Give us a good answer or you’ve got a war on your hands, brothers.”

The tribes explained their reasoning, war was averted, and all was well. But I was struck by the whole episode. I started to ask myself if I’m willing to go to war with my brothers. We in the Western church live such independent lives that we don’t really think that one person’s sin affects the whole body. We think, “Geez, that guy has got some really wrong views about God. He sees Him as an unloving task master who is always disappointed, angry, and moody. That’s too bad. Hope he gets over that.” We don’t really see that our brother’s wrong view affects the Church. We see someone in our small group who has deep-rooted issues with needing to control everything, or a guy addicted to pornography, or a woman who is negative and biting and sarcastic in everything she says, and we pretty much see that as “their problem” that they need to work on. It’s not just their problem! It’s my problem because we’re part of one Body!

Do I believe that? And am I willing to “go to war” with my brother because of this? Go to war gently, in New Covenant love, but go to war. John Donne said it well:

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee.”

If you see your brothers or sisters in sin, let’s go to loving, compassionate, restorative war with them.

1 comment:

Bard said...

Awesome post! I love it when we can apply the OT to our everyday lives.