Posted by Farrah
I was reading to Kylen from Joshua recently as part of school. When we reached the part where three of the tribes on the other side of the Jordan built their own altar, he thought one lesson that might be taken is that we can worship God wherever we are. Amen! That got me to thinking about some other possible lessons.
The other tribes were worried that this was a sign their brothers were going to begin making their own sacrifices. Not only would that not be good, but it could be disastrous. God had lots of rules about where sacrifices were to be done, how they were to be done, and who would do them. These actions might bring God’s wrath down on everyone. In fact, they were so worried that they were ready to battle in order to stop them.
Thankfully, it turns out the altar was only meant to be a memorial, a reminder that they were all serving the same God. They had no intention of making their own sacrifices. And thankfully, the other tribes took the time to find out what was going on before attacking their brethren. (Little side lesson here: If you see your brother doing something wrong, try talking to him about it before assuming he has sinned and is in need of punishment.)
We are in a similar situation today. There are many Christian churches, and most of them have altars. However, there is only one sacrifice for our sins: Jesus, the Son of God, who sacrificed Himself once for all. There is no other way to heaven. Unfortunately, some churches have chosen to make their own sacrifices. These are often in the form of rules, good works, membership forms, and money. The people are tricked into believing that if they follow the rules of their church they will get into heaven.
It doesn’t work that way. Jesus has already laid down His life to atone for our sins. We simply need to accept the gift and embrace the giver. He wants our undivided love, not our devotion to our church.
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