Sermon: The Altar of Witness (Joshua 22)
Just like the congregation of Ancient Israel, Christians are called to pursue both purity and peace. If we choose one at the expense of the other, we find ourselves with an idol–and that puts us at odds with the gospel. Purity is important: Our sin does not affect only us, but also those who are members of our community. We affect one another. At the same time, if we shut out others for the sake of purity, concentrating on our own holiness and on the brokenness we see in others, we will become haughty. If we concentrate on peace at the expense of purity, we will be letting go of the purpose for which we pursue peace in the first place.
In this passage, we see four ways in which the people of Reuben, Gad, and the Half-Tribe of Manasseh address their joint purpose: to pursue both passion and purity. They (1) confront when necessary, (2) contextual their circumstance, (3) add their counsel, and (4) consider (that is, listen). All these steps are important in holding together both purity and peace.