August 27, 2012

Committed to Unity

Joshua 22:21-34

“Let us get ready and build an altar … to be a witness …”
—Joshua 22:26-27


When people think of others as living “on the wrong side of the tracks,” they can get themselves into big trouble. For one reason or another, they might think some people don’t belong, even though they really do belong.

“Don’t think of us like that,” said the tribes from the other side of the Jordan. “Our inheritance from God is on the east side of the Jordan. We are committed to worship God at the place he has chosen in the west. The altar is only a witness to our commitment.” Thus the tribes from the east saved their brother tribes from going to war with their own people.

That was good.

But we must be careful not to make foolish judgments even if our intentions are good. Why should God’s people divide what God has put together?

It’s sad, and it grieves God that Christians have “gone to war” with each other over the kinds of clothing they wear to church, or the kinds of songs they sing in worship. Some think of fellow Christians as second class because of their political leanings or their ethnic background.

Let us be united in God’s will for our lives and the lives of our neighbors, wherever we live or worship. The rest will take care of itself (see Matthew 6:33-34).

Lord Christ, help me to receive your gifts of grace alongside your people everywhere. May we all see your cross as the sign of our unity in you. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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