“The whole community of the Lord demands to know why you are
betraying the God of Israel. How could you turn away from the Lord
and build an altar for yourselves in rebellion against him?”
Our parents taught us a safety rule before crossing the street…stop, look, and listen. Our Heavenly Father recommends the same rule for protecting our relationships!
Today’s story finds the tribes of Israel at a river rather than a street. Three tribes were on their way back home, but because they stopped to build an altar, their brothers prepared for war! Accusations flew fast…why did you betray God…how could you build an altar for yourselves in rebellion against Him?
Joshua had looked at the good in his brothers when he commended them for not deserting the other tribes (22:3), but later the community judged their brothers BEFORE they stopped to listen. Fortunately, when they did take time to listen, they heard the truth (v. 24-29), that the altar was NOT an act of rebellion but a memorial so their descendants would know that relationship with the Lord was for ALL the tribes. (v. 28).
When we listen before judging, we too will hear the truth that could very well prevent disaster, in our personal relationships as well as in our world! Today, more than ever before, it’s time to stop before jumping to judgmental conclusions, look for the good in our neighbor, and listen to their heart. After all, every one of us was formed by the same Loving Creator!