March 29, 2017. Joshua 22-24.
Finally all of the land has been distributed among the nations of Israel. But now a bit of drama arises. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh begin to build an imposing altar to that of the Israelites. When the Israelites heard about this altar they assumed that it was an altar built to rebel against God and so they prepared to go to war.
After a face-to-face confrontation, the three tribes accused of defiling the land with an altar built to a god other than the God of Israel, they explain themselves.
24 “No! We did it for fear that some day your descendants might say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 The Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you—you Reubenites and Gadites! You have no share in the Lord.’ So your descendants might cause ours to stop fearing the Lord.
26 “That is why we said, ‘Let us get ready and build an altar—but not for burnt offerings or sacrifices.’ 27 On the contrary, it is to be a witness between us and you and the generations that follow, that we will worship the Lord at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices and fellowship offerings. Then in the future your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You have no share in the Lord.’
28 “And we said, ‘If they ever say this to us, or to our descendants, we will answer: Look at the replica of the Lord’s altar, which our ancestors built, not for burnt offerings and sacrifices, but as a witness between us and you.’
These people knew that they had to make their own declaration of dedication to the Lord. It wasn’t enough for them to say, “Well the nation we are a part of believes in the Lord and makes offerings and sacrifices to Him so we should be covered too.”
Salvation is a personal relationship between you and God. No one else’s faith can save you. No amount of prayer on your behalf can bring forth your salvation and relationship with Christ. It is up to you to build your own altar declaring you are a child of God. After having built the altar, these tribes felt free of the dependency they had on someone else’s faith. God wants you to experience that freedom.