by Mandy Hinkle
Have you found yourself in the midst of drama-llama? Just what is or who is drama-llama? Journey with me into the narrative of Joshua 22 to discover some key lessons for all seasons. The Israelites have been rescued from Egypt, wandered in the desert as punishment for their rebellion, Moses passed his leadership to Joshua, they have crossed the Jordan, conquered Jericho, conquered many other Canaanite kingdoms, and Joshua has finished dividing up the lands to each of the tribes. Now in Numbers 23, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh decided they wanted to settle in the Transjordan area(before they had conquered anything!), I don’t blame them, the ground was fertile and the land was perfect to start families! But, Moses said the abled bodied men had to first help the other tribes conquer the lands of Canaan, then they could settle. Now, to our narrative, the land is conquered and the weary warriors of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh are honorably dismissed to go home to the Transjordan area after 7 years of war! Joshua 22 is a long chapter, but there are some extremely applicable truths we can gather from this story.
I would encourage you to read the full chapter, but here is a brief summary. Joshua commended the Reubenites, Gadites, and men of Manasseh and dismissed them. He reminded them of their covenant with God and challenged them to live lives of obedience, love, fellowship, and service. They went home, all the way on the other side of the Jordan River. Now, they built a large altar to be seen across the river as a reminder to the other tribes that they were still unified. However, the people of Israel saw this and thought they erected a rebellious altar and were ready to go to war over it. By God’s grace, Phineas (the son of Eliazer, son of Aaron) decided to go over and talk to the Reubenites, Gadites, and men of Manasseh. They quickly explained that their altar is just a reminder that they are a part of the tribes of Israel even though the Jordan river separates them. This was an acceptable answer and there was no more talk of war. They named the altar, Witness, because it is a witness between Israel that the Lord is God.
Now, you wonder how does some misconstrued altar in a river applicable to being a woman of Christ in the present day church? There are 4 points we can gather from our brothers in Christ from so long ago.
It is very important for believers to be diligent in preserving purity in the faith by keeping our sisters accountable (like the other Israelites when they thought the Reubenites, Gadites, and tribe of Manasseh were building a rebellious altar.)
It is wrong for us to judge others quickly- there are ALWAYS 2 sides to the story. We need to extend grace towards each other and listen instead of jumping to conclusions. Especially when it comes to things we may see on social media.
We need to have genuine and open conversations with one another in love. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you may also be tempted.” Key word here is GENTLY!
If you have been wrongfully accused, you are encouraged to be gentle also. The tribe of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh didn’t run to sharpen their swords and get defensive. They calmly explained their side with grace and gentleness. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Let us go and love one another, enjoy sweet fellowship with our sisters in Christ, and serve one another in obedience to God’s word! Wouldn’t it be better for us to avoid the drama-llama and have real conversations and live life together? I think so! Go and be men and women of grace and gentleness.
Resource:The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Dallas Seminary, Zuck, Roy B.; Walvoord, John F.