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June 16, 2021 8:00 am
Nations sometimes win a war, but lose the peace. This was Joshua's fear for Israel. At the end of his life. Christians today often find a test of prosperity more difficult than the test of adversity coming up on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce discusses the need to live for God and serve God in peacetime as well as in war Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly. We're all ready to relax after a hard days work so after seven years of making more. The Israelites were ready to enjoy some peace until the honor and holiness of their God came under fire today from Joshua 22 will hear about some very tired. People who were determined to stand for truth and act in love.
Most commentaries on the book of Joshua tend to get rather skimpy toward the second half, beginning with those long chapters in the middle that have to do with the partition of the land city by city among the 12 tribes suppose that's understandable. It's hard to preach in any great length about the division of land among the tribes and the momentum of the precipitous study of the central chapters whisks the commentators on to the end of the book and at last one or two more chapters is unfortunate because these last chapters have great lessons. Some of the greatest in the book, and it's particularly unfortunate in that kind of treatment calls for precipitous treatment of chapter 22.
This chapter Joshua gives specific commands in the challenge to the 2 1/2 Eastern tribes were going to dwell on the far side of the Jordan River and the chapter contains emotional parting and an incident that grows out of that which is one of the most instructive incidents in the entire book. We need to say that the theme of these last chapters 22 through 24 is no necessity to live for God and serve God in peace as well as in war. After remember that the tribes had done rather well spiritually during seven long years of military campaign at Stroh that early and the invasion they had made some serious mistakes. There had been disobedience of Jericho through Aiken's taking of some of the things that have been dedicated to God and as a result of that, the armies suffering and loss at the battle against AI in connection with that Joshua also probably had a failing because he seems to have failed to stop and ask God for the plans of the battle, which if he had done, God would certainly reveal the problem that existed in the camp so that was at shortcoming in we know that they were deceived.
Later not only Joshua but the people as a whole. When the Gibeonites came and pretended to come from a far country work all terribly serious things, at least in every case they didn't involve all the people and they did occur early in the campaign and now so far as we can tell, for the great bulk of these years of fighting seven long years of warfare that people had really been exemplary in their faithfulness to God in their desire to serve him now. The time had come for peace. The question Joshua's mind was Libya's faithful to God and the peace, as they were in the times of war, nations sometimes win the war, but lose the peace you heard that phrase in I guess Joshua was wondering if that would be the case here. When when the battle was on when danger was great.
It's easy to see how that would force them to stay close to God and their devotional life within their shoulder by shoulder warfare against the enemy.
Times of peace. It's different times of peace. You relax, you begin to let go and some of the things that have been so important. Didn't the times of warfare.
Just fade away. So what you find again and again in these chapters in Joshua's word to the Eastern tribes and then in the next chapter in his farewell to the leaders, then in the final chapter in his last great challenge to the nation as a whole is a great concern he had that they might remain faithful to God that they might serve no other God but him only Joshua speaks to these Eastern tribes had several things that he reminds them.
That's the sort of thing we need to be reminded up as well.
First of all, the re-mind some of their past successes, but is there obedience. He acknowledges that they had done everything that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and they have obeyed him in everything he commanded. So he begins with great commendation. He acknowledges what happened in the past. Second thing he reminds him of his God's blessing late obeyed God and God had been faithful to them. God had fulfilled all the promises God has given your brother's rasters. The promise that he is giving you this land is a connection between the two because citizens we are faithful to God and what he gives us to do that the promises of the Lord.
Those promises which are conditional upon our obedience, meet with their fulfillment, and this was the case I had abandoned audit been faithful now in the third place, he says, verse five. Be very careful to keep the commandment in the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave to you. Love the Lord your God walk in all his ways, to obey his commands to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul, you know, when we come to that last phrase, with all your heart and soul. We are reminded in case we hadn't been reminded previously of what the Lord Jesus Christ called the first and great commandment because that is certainly the commandment which Joshua was referring.
It's found in Deuteronomy 6.
Chapter verse five you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
That's what's Joshua was telling the people you have made in the past God is been faithful in the immediate past. Now, says Joshua will be sure to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and as he speaks about it spells it out. He shows wanted me it means to walk in all his ways obey all his commandments to hold fast to him and serve him with all our hearts and souls of course that's what Joshua would say God's favor here today.
I'm sure if he knew anything about what God is donning your life in the past he would say look to have been faithful. You have obeyed. You have grown, and God has been faithful to you, he would say sure to keep on forget that that first and great commandment remains always the first and great commandment. And if you really want to go on with God and be blessed to have been in the past. This is how you should do it. You must love him walk in his ways, obey his commandments and hold fast and serve him with all your heart and soul, so he gave a great charge for the people and let them go. I'm sure at this point that Francis Schaeffer is right when he says that we have to use our imaginations a bit understand what is involved in the story we have to remember first of all that the first time in seven years. There was to be as serious parting among the people doing 1/2 tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh were about to go back down to the area of the Jordan crossover. It and live in what we call trans Jordan today. That was the land that they had asked for when they were still in the wilderness. I was that portion of the land that Moses is given to them but it was on the other side of the river that River Jordan was a major glider in that area of the world and any other tribes. The 9 1/2 tribes that were on the other side possessed the land they would be there. So some of these comrades in arms would be on one side and some of these comrades in arms would be on the other and this is the moment at which this great parting took place know in times of difficulty.
A special bond develops among people and certainly that is true in warfare.
Those who fought in any of the last wars of this country will testify to that from time to time receipt in the newspapers's reports of gatherings of American veterans from some war episode in the past year would be been getting together. For example, who fought in the European theater gone through difficult times together here would be another reunion of men who fought in the Pacific against the Japanese would be a special commodity a in that kind of meeting. That is certainly the kind of thing that existed here among the soldiers. So when it came time to part there would have been moments in which these soldiers would've gone through the To embrace perhaps tearfully say goodbye to those that they had fought with side-by-side during the campaigns. One soldier went would greet another saved his life and that great battle against the Southern Confederacy is a flight south from Gibeon and here soldier would embrace another, with whom he had scaled the walls of Hebron in the first one over those walls to take that important city of Solon in a very meaningful and not very emotional time in Alaska moment for parting game and the 2 1/2 tribes gathered together with their possessions.
There share of the spoil of the land and left the others and made their way down from Shiloh up in the hill country town were the valley of the Jordan and were about to pass over into their own land and for their part, the others remain in the hills and suddenly word okay from the area of the Jordan that something unexpected and terribly frightening was happening. Word came that the 2 1/2 tribes that had gone down to the Jordan and were going to cross it to dwell in the land beyond the Jordan were building an altar. I was a significant thing was one I was a great altar and Shiloh, where that tabernacle of the Lord was situated and that was all there that symbolize the worship of the one God in the unity of the people and now here the 2 1/2 tribes down in the area of the Jordan were building another altar testified to a departure from the landlord meant apostasy and notice what happens text tells us verse 11. When the Israelites heard that they had built the altar on the border of Canaan and Kaleo near the Jordan on the Israelites side the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against is absolutely astounding is from the way we think there were men who were comrades in arms. Men would fought side-by-side men who had just had the most emotional parting and were not jealous of each other or hostile to each other but rather men who had the deepest possible affection for one another and more over these were all people who were very tired of war. They had been fighting for seven years and were anxious to get home and be done with the fighting and settle down and develop their fields in the Townsend all of those things work came from the Jordan that the 2 1/2 tribes were building a schismatic alternate site understood to be immediately these men who love their brethren and who at the same time were absolutely exhausted with the fighting. Nevertheless immediately gathered up their arms once again and were ready to go to war, Francis Schaeffer, in his study.
Asked how that can be in there is only one answer was not that they hated their brothers were jealous of or hostile to any such thing is that as I've indicated it was barely the honor of God was at stake fulfilling this of God and though they hated to go to war.
That was a far more important thing in their estimation, then the conflict that they imagined the lie ahead.
Schaeffer says all I wish the church of Jesus Christ in our time were equally concerned for the honor and holiness of Almighty God, or something else is true that these tribes in Israel were concerned for the honor and holiness of God. But let look like it was on the verge of starting did not begin at once rash people might have simply rushed to the Jordan contact the other people but these Israelites didn't do that and in the fact that they didn't do it. We see something else is also equally important.
It is important that they were so concerned for the Lord's honor that they were willing to do battle to preserve it but they were only willing to fight, they were also notice this also willing to talk about it. So instead of just rushing off to the battle. They elected Phineas son of Eleazar the priest tandem with the chief men of Israel, one from each tribe is the delegation then they dispatch this delegation to go down and meet with the others and see if it might not be possible to work this terrible error as they assumed it to be out to get some kind of a peaceful resolution.
I notice what happened.
This is really significant first thing we notice about this delegation as it went to meet with the 2 1/2 Eastern tribes is that they were utterly forthright in expressing the thing that concerned them. They call it for what it is. Notice verse 16 the whole assembly of the Lord says, how could you break faith with the God of Israel like this. How could you turn away from the Lord and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against him. Now wasn't the sin of pay, or enough for us.
Up to this very day. We have not cleansed ourselves from that sin even though plague fell on the community of the Lord and are you now turning away from the Lord. If you rebel against the Lord today. Tomorrow we will be angry with the whole community of Israel that's really telling it as it is made willing to call apostasy. Apostasy they called turning from the Lord. Turning from the Lord as it turns out the story they were mistaken, this is not what the people were doing barge around the edges. This is what concerned them and they expressed it openly.
So that's one thing that significant notices also. Not only were they utterly forthright in expressing what it was that concern them. But at the same time, even as they expressed their concern. They indicated that they were willing to pay whatever price it might be necessary to bring about a reconciliation find it verse 19. If the land you possess is defiled, come over to the Lord's lands where the Lord's tabernacle stands and what share land with us. That means they divided up the land. This land that they had fought for. They had divided up the cities each had their own city.
No doubt, each in his own mind knew exactly what he was going to settle perhaps by this time, even the lighthouse they were going to live in but here with this great division within Israel. This apostasy is a fear, they said, look, if it's the land that you're living in. That's causing the problem with for some reason there are false gods in that lab in your field. You live in that land you have to obey those false gods and don't live in that land that your land that's a part of the inheritance, but don't do that. Look, if necessary, leave that come on over and while I will give you some of our cities will give you some of our land.
Come with us. Only don't against the Lord is not only concerned.
On the one hand for the honor and willingness of God which is so essential. They are on the other hand, equally concerned to manifest the love of God, which is also part of God's character that's with wings people you see, we probably in our time to generalize, stay on both counts.
We don't care a lot about the love of God, and we don't care a lot about the holiness of God.
So we compromised truth and then we failed to demonstrate the love of God, even over small things that are altogether essential justice when were willing to pay the price to demonstrate our love when we are willing to be hurting ourselves in order to show forth the character of God. The people are really one over if that's the case, as it often is with us, that we merely stand back and make pronouncements are soap boxes that were saying well you're wrong and you just got a straight mountain and we never put ourselves in a position where it costs us anything. People aren't one when we go to them and lay our privileges aside and peeled our benefits their sake.
Then they recognize the genuineness of the concern and are able to turn around that. Of course you know is the way God Almighty deals with us, God has his standards.
We have broken his law, God could very easily shout from heaven you will broken by law you're under my judgment, repents, reprints, repent course. We are called upon to repent. But what God did was send his son at great personal cost and time for us. We read in Scripture that it's on the basis of the death of Jesus Christ that God commences love to us, rather example of that here because that's what these people did something I want you to notice about this is that not only did the Western tribes express with utter forthrightness what it was the concern that meant not only did they indicate that they were willing to pay whatever price was necessary to reclaim the brothers that they thought were airing when they heard this on the part of the Western tribes. Eastern tribes immediately recognize the justice of the cause they didn't say say as many people might do in our time. Well brother such as your opinion.
I mean, you think there should be one older, we think it should be to alders but your opinion this is our opinion will do our thing they didn't do that. They replied at great length. If this is been in rebellion, or disobedience to the Lord. Do not spare us this day and again if we have built our own altar to turn away from the Lord and offer burnt offerings and grain offerings are to sacrifice fellowship offerings on me. The Lord himself. Call us to account.
See by responding in this way, and not in the way that so many people respond today when the commands and requirements of God, or may know, these people demonstrated that rather than being schismatic unbelievers. They were actually one with the other people of God. I was a test to see when you are cavalier with God's commands as well. You know that's just what you think, that's just what Paul says well that's in the Old Testament doesn't apply today when you handle things like that's very questionable whether God is actually not a work of grace in your heart as possible is Donna you're such a babe in spiritual things that you don't understand the issues clearly but is questionable. But if on the other hand, when you hear these things you say yes yes that's what's happening.
That certainly is wrong, then by that response treating the commands of God lightly indicate that way more than any other thing you could do that you really are one with God's people, and God's Spirit dwells within you start to see that there are sometimes questionable things in which one Christian will look at a passage of Scripture and say I think it means this in another Christian will look at a passage of Scripture and say don't think you're handling it quite rightly, I think it means less if that's the case that kind of legitimate disagreement meet together and you try to work it out but you do so on the basis that if you can agree what it means. Both parties are bound to it Jesse that's far different thing from say well just just your opinion.
Eastern tribes didn't do that and by not doing that they indicated a great way that they really were one of the others story has a happy ending the sort of thing happens in the church today doesn't always have a happy ending. As we know the didn't in the situation the tribes that had gone down to the Jordan explained what it was that they had done. It turns out that the Western tribes simply is understood.
First of all, are greatly shocked that what they had done could be interpreted that way have to pick that up from the language when this great challenge to them was made. They responded by saying all the mighty one, the Lord, the mighty one God, the Lord, he knows all this relates before God that is not what is involved in this at all.
God no to. So they began to explain it. They said as we left you went down here to work. Jordan and were about to cross it. The distance that we had traveled and the natural barrier that we were about to cross weighed upon us and we said what's going to happen someday, we get over on the far side of the Jordan, and we who have fought together with our brother's. Nonetheless, it's Don.
I land passes to our descendents and their descendents, while if in fact. Years from now when those who remember the fighting and fought side-by-side or gone. What if the descendents of those in the West say to the descendents of us who were living in the East you live on the far side of the Jordan. That's not God's land.
You don't have any part with us. We are the true Israel.
They said we don't want that to happen. This is our heritage. We want to remember that we are all worshipers of the one true God, Jehovah, so they said were going to do is build a memorial on an altar where you offer sacrifices and offerings that happens at Shiloh, the tabernacle of the Lord is but a memorial that is like that tabernacle and it's going to be on my side of the Jordan.
So when are people dazed, come here and stand at the Jordan look across they'll say that the memorial of the fact that we are part of the people who live on the other side.
Your descendents can do likewise ran the delegation from the West under the command of Phineas heard that they said all we are so glad that's all it is today face a week.
No, that the Lord is with us because you have not acted on faithfully toward the Lord in this matter and I went home and they reported it all. Israel was satisfied. Why did it turn out that way.
Why was the ending. A happy ending, rather than an unfortunate one. Schaefer says it's because this is one of Francis Schaeffer's great points in his theology.
People know how to demonstrate the love of God and a concern for the holiness of God simultaneously. Not one without the other. Schaefer says first there was a clear agreement on the importance of doctrinal truth and understanding that the innocent God commands bowing before them and obeying his commands. Second, those were courageous and standing for truth were also courageous and acting in love. Only been a stand for truth, there would never have been a happy ending.
There would have been only war because the 10 tribes would report across the river and killed the other Israelites without talking to anybody that would've been sadness in the midst of misunderstanding because of the love of God. Tribes talk to each other openly and the love and holiness of God were able to come together. Psalm 85 speaks of the righteousness of God and the love of God, kissing each other and this is what happened. You see in the final analysis Christian people only have one basic task in this world and that is to demonstrate the nature and character of God in a world that is rebelled against nature of God involves versus truth is holiness character God involves his love. We have a great privilege as we go about our affairs as we interact with one another as we give a demonstration within the church of what the kingdom of God is all about.
We have is a sale opportunity in that setting to show forth the holiness and the love of God simultaneously work into that in some periods of history.
It is fought over these things and other periods of history like our own. It is still scholar them as being unimportant because all the world says everything is relative truth is relative. Love is relatively doesn't matter at all what to do or what you believe because that's your thing. I do my thing you would think with that easy relativism like that the world would be at peace with because after all, everybody does her own thing. Who cares of the world doesn't have peace of all world is filled with turmoil. We have a great opportunity as Christian people to demonstrate both of those two things, the holiness and love of God simultaneously and see God work in those things to bring blessing and establish Concorde very end of this chapter after two bodies of people had parted and Ruben Ines Magana knights were standing there beside their altar. They gave the owner. This name a witness between us that the Lord is God's marvelous we can look back on past history to things that have happened disputes we had see the way, which it has been worked out in Christian principles and say that's a witness. There is that's so memorial that's testimony of the facts of the Lord is Jehovah God is our God and we follow him spray.
Her father asked by your grace, we might learn from such story. One thing to analyze that we can do that one thing to apply it.
We can do that too, but the real proof of the study is whether we actually live by these principles. The conflicts that inevitably come into our lives, or father, bless us as we strive to be your people.
It was grace to be your people in these ways by that same grace and through your power teach us and enable us to deal with problem situations in such a way that when we look back upon them in future days we will be able to say is these people. That is a witness between us that the Lord is our God.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, our Savior.
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