GETTING THE MOST FROM GOD'S WORD:

"Do NOT labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting LIFE..." - The Gospel of John 6:27 (NKJV)
A systematic and daily reading of the Word of God is important in maintaining a strong Christian life. Establish a daily quiet time with God and His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what you read. By following our daily Bible reading schedule through this blog, you will be able to read the Bible through in a year. Please note that you may utilize the ‘BIBLE READER’ app that is installed at the bottom of this webpage to assist you in reading the specified scripture portion for today.

To get the MOST from God's Word, please do the following intentionally:
1. REQUEST God to connect with you as you read the word of God with FOCUS and OPENNESS to see what God wants to speak with you.
2. READ the selected sections of Scripture slowly as you mark the words and phrases that intrigue you, even reading them the second time to get a better understanding.
3. REFLECT on what God is communicating to you; stopping long enough to let the seed of God's Word take root in your heart.
4. RESPOND to the passage speaking directly to God about what is in your heart, and then look out for ways to live out what you find - individually, and to others within your church and elsewhere.

As you read and meditate, ask yourself the following three questions:
a) What is God speaking to me through this passage?
b) Is there a command, a promise or a warning for me?
c) Is there an example for me to follow?

Please POST your comments below if there is a thought or message that the Lord has spoken to you through the passage that you are reading and meditating today. Please make sure that your post is aligned to the scripture passage mentioned at the header. All comments should pertain to the relevant scripture portions only, and should be aimed to glorify God (the true author of 'The Bible') & edify everyone who visits this blog site daily - both young and old. May God bless you abundantly for encouraging others through your comments!

Let's PRAY...
LORD, give me the desire to take a little time out of my busy schedule today as I read and meditate on Your Word. Give me this day MY DAILY BREAD. Speak to me clearly & lead me today as my Good Shepherd. Help me to be a blessing to others who interact with me as I attempt to be a living witness of Your Word today. In Your Name I pray, AMEN.

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11 Bible Reading: Joshua Chapters 22-24

How can we RESOLVE a CONFLICT AMICABLY? Now the children of Israel heard someone say, "Behold, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar on the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region of the Jordan--on the children of Israel's side." And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered together at Shiloh to go to war against them. (Josh. 22:11-12)

Towards the end of the book of Joshua, we encounter a conflict that surfaced suddenly between the nine and half tribes of Israel situated in the western part of River Jordan and the two and half tribes who were on their way to be situated in the eastern part of River Jordan. As per an earlier agreement with Moses (see Num. 32), the men belonging to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh had crossed over the river to fight alongside with their brothers in order to occupy the Canaanite territory. Now, after seven long years, the major assaults in Canaan had ceased and Joshua had permitted these men to return to their territory east of the Jordan, as originally agreed. He also told them to take with them their share of the spoil from the battles they had fought.

On their way home, these men decided to erect an altar near the banks of the River Jordan. Here we come to the first reason why this conflict had taken place…these men did not make their brothers aware beforehand of their intention to erect this secondary altar. When the other nine and a half tribes heard about it, they were very angry as they feared that it was a rival altar to the one set up by God at Shiloh. God had commanded Israel not to offer burnt offerings or sacrifices at any location except the tabernacle (see Lev. 17:8, 9), and not to worship other gods (Deut. 13:12–15). So, the erection of a second, unauthorized altar would violate the principles of God. Also, it might become an idolatrous altar in time to come and that God would punish the entire nation because of it. The situation carried with it an apparent danger of political disunity and apostasy as well (vv. 16–20).

However, the children of Israel acted with restraint, and before declaring war on the tribes east of the Jordan River, they sent a delegation to find out what exactly was going on. Through this act, they balanced their passion for God’s worship with wisdom and humility, allowing the possibility that the actions of their brothers had been misunderstood.

During the meeting, the men of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh explained that this was not an altar of sacrifice at all, but simply a memorial altar that would testify to future generations that the tribes east of the Jordan were indeed a part of the nation of Israel. The other tribes were pleased by this explanation, and thus a terrible conflict and a grievous war was averted!

For us today, this incident offers us some invaluable lessons about how we can resolve a conflict amicably. Perhaps the most important lesson is the value of talking things over. This was a young nation that came to the brink of civil war over a simple misunderstanding. Instead of rushing into combat and war, both sides made sincere attempts to air their perspectives and talking things over. Due to this wise decision, further hostilities were averted. Similar conflicts can arise today as well. However, when they do, it will be wise for both parties to ask questions and listen to each other rather than jumping into conflicts that create needless disunity.

Let’s remember that the building of the altar was at first misunderstood as a declaration of war, but then it became a witness of peace and unity. Let all our conflicts be resolved amicably in the similar manner as well.
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom." (James 3:13)

"Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility. He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him." (Prov. 18:12-13)

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