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#MWC E3.3

Jeff sings another song written by the SongWriter’s Guild and talks from the book of Joshua in this week’s #MidweekWorshipConnection.

Welcome back to the #MidweekWorshipConnection. We’ve got another song from the SongWriter’s Guild for you today. It seems like we’re on a roll with the SongWriter’s Guild songs, but here’s a song called, “Hallelujah (Lord, You Are)“.

Hallelujah (Lord You Are) (written by Keith Byler | Rocky Favia, Jr. | Jeffrey Kaufman | Jeff Polen)

Hallelujah, Lord You are
the God who never changes
Holy, Holy, Lord You are
faithful through the ages
And I love You

Majesty and power
Mystery and wonder
The heavens speak of all You are
You are God before me
Emmanuel, God with me
The Maker and the Keeper of my heart

Hallelujah, Lord You are
the God who never changes
Holy, Holy, Lord You are
faithful through the ages
And I love You

Majesty and power
Mystery and wonder
The heavens speak of all You are
You are God before me
Emmanuel, God with me
The Maker and the Keeper of my heart

Hallelujah, Lord You are
the God who never changes
Holy, Holy, Lord You are
faithful through the ages
And I love You

Like the morning rain
Like a sweet embrace
You fill my heart with life
and I’m forever changed
Oh, this gift of love
Oh, this gift of grace
To take a sinner’s heart
and make it clean

Like the morning rain
Like a sweet embrace
You fill my heart with life
and I’m forever changed
Oh, this gift of love
Oh, this gift of grace
Washing over me

Hallelujah, Lord You are
the God who never changes
Holy, Holy, Lord You are
faithful through the ages
And I love You

– – –

“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?
– Joshua 22:16, ESV

I love this story from near the end of the book of Joshua. The Israelites had just spent years at war with the people who were inhabiting the Promised Land. God directed them to utterly destroy the pagans who were defiling the land by worshiping false gods, sacrificing children, living in perpetual immorality, and terrorizing one another with evil acts. For whatever reason, God wanted his chosen people, Israel, to occupy this land and to thoroughly cleanse it by driving everyone else out.

Admittedly, there is a lot about this historical account that I do not understand. Some is even hard to swallow. In this day and age, we tend to have a difficult time reconciling the fact that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (see Hebrews 13:8), especially when the God of the Old Testament seems to be intent on destroying people and Jesus seems to be intent on saving people.

I am convinced that God really IS the same yesterday, today, and forever. I am convinced that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who DOES NOT change like shifting shadows (see James 1:17). There is no doubt that a serious reading of the Old Testament will reveal a God who is intent on saving people (how many times did He miraculously act to save the Israelites?!), and a serious reading of the New Testament will illuminate Jesus’ stern words of destruction to those who would not believe in him.

How, then, do we stay on the side of the saved and reject the paths that lead to destruction?

That question is one of the many reasons why I love (and am challenged and encouraged by) the story from Joshua 22.

After the many years of war in the Promised Land, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh were free to go back across the Jordan to the land they had requested and received from Moses. Before they left, Joshua called them to himself and reminded them to be faithful to the covenant relationship that God had called them into. He blessed them, and then he sent them on their way (Joshua 22:1-9). 

In the very next verse, when they come to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, they decide to build a huge altar.

What!? What are they thinking?! When the people of Israel heard how their brothers had apparently broken faith, they all gathered at Shiloh to confront them!

On one hand, it feels slightly hypocritical for the tribes of Israel to suddenly pretend that they have never broken faith. It is hard to wrap our minds around a willingness to go to war against your own family.

On the other hand, it is a beautiful testimony of Israel’s dedication to not only a PERSONAL faith in God, but also a CORPORATE faith in God. They were willing to do the hard work of confronting their brothers because of the apparent decision to walk away from God and forsake His commandments.

Would we be willing to do that today? Do we adhere to a strictly personal faith in God? Or are we walking with our brothers and sisters, helping them in the journey, learning from them, and being willing to correct or rebuke (or be corrected or rebuked) when necessary?

To Israel’s credit, they were willing to call out their brothers for what seemed to be sin. As it turns out, the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-vibe of Manasseh had a very good explanation for why they had stopped to build an altar. What seemed to be a lack of faith was actually an act to ensure future faith for generations to come (see Joshua 22:21-29).

Israel was wrong about how they had interpreted the actions of the two and a half tribes, but they were not wrong to confront them about it. In the end, all of Israel had a stronger relationship with one another and a stronger personal and corporate commitment to God. If only it would’ve stayed that way…

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#MWC (Season 3)

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