They say if walls could talk they would teach us lessons we should learn. One of those is from the 2 ½ tribes Joshua confronted. He needed the assurance that the Israelites would move forward as a cohesive unit to victory. The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had sought permission to live on the eastern side of the Jordan. Like Lot, they saw with their eyes the well-watered land and wanted to live there not in the land God had chosen.
Faithfully they did live out Eccl 5: “when you make a vow to God do not delay in paying it.” They built homes, fences and left their families behind for 7 yrs. However, upon their return, they built an altar which was misconstrued and nearly caused a war. By choosing the fertile land on the east they divided the nation. They may have fought with their brothers but lost the blessings of Canaan land. A further distance from the Tabernacle made it easier to excuse not attending the services. They lost the protection of their brethren and in the end, the Assyrians attacked them and took them captive.
So what is our takeaway on this? Disciplers must be team players. Disciplers must have an ear that listens and heeds wise counsel. Remind yourself to keep your eye on the end not the means to that end. Ask yourself what does God want not what you want.
The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had to extricate themselves from the misconstrued meaning of the altar they had erected. As they tried to do that they blame shifted, they overextended their reasons and tried to alleviate the worries of the other tribes. It took Phinehas to resolve the matter but the hurt was there for centuries. In the end, the lack of protection, the distance separating them and the others took a spiritual toll. Keep yourself linked with your leaders and heed their advice and follow their example.
Like many today they became half and half Christians with one foot in the world and one foot in the church. Sometimes we are like Lot and these three tribes. We want what we see, we ask God for it rather than waiting for the best He has chosen for us. God may allow it but it comes with a high price.
Jesus said he who has ears should listen.