from Joshua 22

At that time Joshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you and have obeyed my voice in all that I have commanded you…” So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size… And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.

Then the people of Israel sent…Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel… and they said to them, “Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord, ‘What is this breach of faith that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the Lord by building yourselves an altar this day in rebellion against the Lord?’”

Then the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said… “The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith against the Lord, do not spare us today for building an altar to turn away from following the Lord. Or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or grain offerings or peace offerings on it, may the Lord himself take vengeance. No, but we did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, ‘What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you people of Reuben and people of Gad. You have no portion in the Lord.’ So your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord. Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we do perform the service of the Lord …’ Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord and turn away this day from following the Lord by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifices other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!”

And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said… “Today we know that the Lord is in our midst, because you have not committed this breach of faith against the Lord. Now you have delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the Lord.”

[They] called the altar Witness, “For,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

Sermon Questions:
1. How are you tempted to believe that it’s your story?
2. What happening in your life makes it hard to believe the 4 parts God’s story? (creation, fall, redemption, consumation)
3. How can you commemorate and remind yourself of God’s story?
4. Spend a few moments telling others (or writing down) God’s story worked out in your life.
5. Who have you written out of God’s story? What questions could you ask them to see God’s story at work in them?

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