Day 24

An Altar of Witness

from the Joshua reading plan


Joshua 22:1-34, Psalm 7:8-10, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

BY Tameshia Williams

After the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh helped the rest of Israel conquer Canaan, Joshua released them to return to their homes across the Jordan. As he sent them off, he blessed them and charged them to maintain their allegiance to God, saying, “Love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, keep his commands, be loyal to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul” (Joshua 22:5).

The conversation was between Joshua and those three tribes, but his words are also for us today. As the people of God, He calls us to love Him wholeheartedly and walk in His ways. We pattern our thoughts and actions after His very thoughts and actions expressed in His Word. It’s a lifetime of continuous transformation, as we rely on the power of the Spirit to shape and reorient our values and behaviors to look more and more like Jesus. He gets our full allegiance.

Being loyal to God includes being committed to taking a stand for righteousness, even when it challenges our relationships. Sometimes we do this in quieter ways, and other times we take a more vocal stand—like Israel did when they learned the three tribes had built an altar at the border (Joshua 22:9–12).

Israel’s history included many instances of infidelity and rebellion against God. However, Joshua 22 shows us an Israel whose priority was walking in God’s ways, even to the point of being willing to fight their own countrymen. Here was the generation seeing God’s promises fulfilled, and they were determined to be faithful to Him as He had been to them. This is a lesson for us today: Do we desire God’s holiness and presence to the point of boldly standing against anyone or anything that would threaten our allegiance to Him?

It was also a lesson to seek understanding before taking action. Thankfully, the altar was not a sign of rebellion but a show of solidarity. The Eastern tribes built it to ensure unity and permanently mark their inclusion as the people of God (Joshua 22:24). It was a memorial of remembrance and a visual declaration that the Lord was their God and would always be their God. The action of the three tribes is a model for us. Although we no longer use altars, we can still incorporate rhythms of remembrance into our spiritual practices. What could these periods of reflection look like for us? 

When we set aside time to remember God’s faithfulness and the many ways He has worked in our lives, we come away with a renewed sense of wonder for who He is, as well as a deeper awareness of His presence. This awareness fosters joy and a confidence that He will be with us throughout every season of life. This can intensify our commitment to love God without reservation, serving Him with all of our heart and soul (Joshua 22:5). 

Post Comments (57)

57 thoughts on "An Altar of Witness"

  1. Christina TagueMcIllwain says:

    Lord help me to have continuous transformation so I have full allegiance to You.

  2. Gina Cano says:

    Kristen thank you for sharing your beautiful testimony! God is so good!! I have lost two babies to miscarriage, and I have found God in the suffering. He seeks us when we are lost. He helps us walk with others in their suffering. He is the redeemer! Praying for you Hope. He sees you. You are not alone.

  3. Hope Trent says:

    What a Big and amazing God we have that has brought us all together. Thank you for your prayers ladies. Means so so much. ❤️

  4. Tracy Mattison Brandon says:

    Although the people of Israel were ready to war against the three tribes, they also listened to gain understanding over their assumption of the purpose of the alter being built. Lord, help us to seek understanding that we may pursue peace and not war among our sisters and brothers.

  5. Bailey Welch-Pomerantz says:

    From one mama with an angel baby to another: praying for you, friend. May God draw you near to him and give you peace which surpasses all understanding.

  6. Jaja de Oliveira says:

    Praying as I’ve gone through it.

  7. Kristen says:

    Amen! In agreement, Tina for @ Hope. I also had a miscarriage and a stillborn baby girl named, Angel. My sister-in-law delivered my niece 6 days later. We went to visit her, and when I saw a living, breathing baby in the crib, I couldn’t speak. I just cried. My sister-in-law had cards for rejoicing and I had them for mourning. It’s not that I didn’t want my niece to be here, it was just hard. I have told the story that I was invited to a new church after the burial for Angel. I wouldn’t have gone. I grew up catholic and didn’t know much about God though. A woman caught my attention. She was singing and praising. I figured she had a perfect life. People were clapping. This was foreign to me. I looked up and thought, God, why did You bring me here. That same woman came up to me and told me that God said to run to Him and not away. How detailed is our God! It turns out that she had money problems and had a miscarriage. No, her life wasn’t perfect, but she seemed so joyful as she was singing and praising. I heard the pastor preach and it was like the message was just for me. (I know that is how God works now. One message touching many in just the right way.) I started going to church there, listening to messages outside of church, listening to praise music. A woman asked me to work at her Christian daycare, because she said Hod told her to ask. Her daughter had also lost a baby. God used many people to help me and share ways to learn about Him. Angel never took a breath, but her life has purpose. I didn’t read the Bible and I was lost and not saved but didn’t know this. After her death, I found this out. My friend’s baby was stillborn almost on the exact day years later. I was able to be there for her. I told her that her son’s life had purpose too. I would have never chosen to lose her. I thought about all the things she would never do, but now I realize she is with Jesus. She is in Heaven. In His Presence is fullness of joy and laughter. I’m so sorry for your loss and pain. Saying prayers. God bless.

  8. Kelly says:

    Would we stand against anything that might come between our allegiance to our God who is truly faithful in every way? It might be friends or colleagues or family or even ourselves at times. I know there are moments when everything from my perspective seems as if it is going all wrong or falling apart and I might fall into the temptation to doubt or take things into my own hands. In the end though, no matter what God has it all set for a purpose and He knows the heart of each person that is underneath their actions.

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