Choosing expediency over God's will
The Lord has placed the Jordan River as a barrier between our people and you people of Reuben and Gad. You have no claim to the Lord.’ So your descendants may prevent our descendants from worshiping the Lord. “So we decided to build the altar, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a memorial. It will remind our descendants and your descendants that we, too, have the right to worship the Lord at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and peace offerings. Then your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You have no claim to the Lord.’ “If they say this, our descendants can reply, ‘Look at this copy of the Lord’s altar that our ancestors made. It is not for burnt offerings or sacrifices; it is a reminder of the relationship both of us have with the Lord.’ Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord or turn away from him by building our own altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings, or sacrifices. Only the altar of the Lord our God that stands in front of the Tabernacle may be used for that purpose.” Joshua 22:25-29
From the text, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh continued to express their concern as to why they built themselves an altar. They even blamed God as to why they were on the other side of the Jordan River far away from the ten tribes, thus, they are away from Shiloh where the tabernacle was located. They fear that their children will be excluded by the children of the ten tribes in attending the three times a year festivity held where the tabernacle is located. The festivities are designed to remind the participants that they are part of Israel. The two and a half tribes were fearful that if their children will be disowned because of their proximity from where the majority of Israelites were living, their children will stop serving the One true God of Israel. This is a legitimate concern on their part and should also be a concern of every true follower of God. Once you are cut off from the rest of the body of Christ, there will be a tendency to lose the warmth of love to God and His church. It was the two and a half tribes that made the decision to live far away from the rest of the Israelites. They chose to live across the Jordan River for the land was fertile for their livestock. They chose gaining material advantage over the spiritual welfare of their children. We cannot continue to profess faith and not experience the power of a changed life that should provide a witness for our faith. Once we experience the goodness of God, it should provide us the incentive to continue to serve and live for Him. We can go through the motion of religiosity and yet miss the essence of faith and relationship with God if our lives do not conform to the working of the Spirit within. Choosing expediency over God’s leading will not help provide a sound testimony. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).