The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows! Joshua 22:22
A couple who stopped to admire a large abstract painting noticed open paint cans and brushes underneath it. Assuming it was a “work in progress” that anyone could help create, they stroked in some color and left. The artist, though, had purposefully left the supplies there as part of the finished work’s display. After reviewing video footage of the incident, the gallery acknowledged the misunderstanding and didn’t press charges.
The Israelites who lived east of the Jordan created a misunderstanding when they built a massive altar next to the river. The western tribes viewed this as rebellion against God—everyone knew the tabernacle was the only God-approved place for worship (Joshua 22:16).
Tensions mounted until the eastern tribes explained that they only meant to make a replica of God’s altar. They wanted their descendants to see it and recognize their spiritual and ancestral connection with the rest of Israel (vv. 28–29). They exclaimed: “The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows!” (v. 22). Thankfully, the others listened. They saw what was going on, praised God, and returned home.
Because God “searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought” (1 Chronicles 28:9), everyone’s motives are clear to Him. If we ask Him to help us sort out confusing situations, He may give us the chance to explain ourselves or the grace we need to forgive offenses. We can turn to Him when we’re striving for unity with others.
What kind of value do you place on unity with others? Why is it vital for us to lovingly disagree with fellow believers at times?
Dear God, help me to be an attentive listener and humble speaker.
The ten tribes of Israel on the west side of the Jordan chose Phinehas the priest as their spokesperson (Joshua 22:13). It was Phinehas himself who put an end to God’s judgment against Israel at Peor when he slew a man engaged in idolatry (Numbers 25:7–9). As grandson to Aaron the high priest and arbiter of God’s justice, he approached the other tribes mentioned in Joshua as a kind of warning: become idolaters like those at Peor and I’ll see justice done. The ten tribes feared that their brothers had fallen into idolatry and were committed to seeing righteousness restored. The new generation of Israel had learned its lesson and took very seriously God’s claim to be the only true God.