Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Altar Wars

Joshua 22: 12-13
12 So the whole community of Israel gathered at Shiloh and prepared to go to war against them. 13 First, however, they sent a delegation led by Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, to talk with the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

This passage is proof-text no.1 that Israel sometimes had a true  zeal for the Lord. Their brothers has built an altar, and they were ready to make war with them. This event is a microcosm of what happens with us in the Church.

Sometimes we see a brother do something and it rubs us the wrong way. We explode and gather our war machine together for an epic battle. We make alliances. We build up steam. We practice our accusations and write manifestos. If cooler heads do not prevail, we will wipe out our brothers.

The tragedy is, Israel was ready to wipe out their brethren before driving out the Canaanites. They would rather fight against flesh and blood than unite against the enemy. That is a sad state of affairs. It happens way more often than it should.

But the problem is two sided. Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh were not innocent. True, the altar they built was not intended as an offense to the Lord. True, they declared their faithfulness to the one true God. True, they asked to be annihilated if they ever forsook the Lord. But what they did amounts to passive-aggression, and says this, "I don't trust my brother's integrity."

How often does that happen in the assembly? How often do we erect "memorials" because we do not trust one another? Unfortunately, I have found that this also happens way more often than it should.

Jesus prayed for a unity that transcends humanity, a unity that requires divinity. The reason the Holy Spirit was given to us was because without Him, we could never achieve this unification. Let's let Him rule in our hearts and put away our human tendencies.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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