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when they came to the region of the Jordan which is in the
land of Canaan, the children of Rueben the children of Gad
and half the tribe of Manasseh built an altar there by the
Jordan a great impressive altar.... Thus says the whole
congregation of the LORD: 'What treachery is this that you
have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this
day from following the LORD, in that you have built for
yourselves an altar, that you might rebel this day against
the LORD? (Joshua 22:10,16)
Two sisters in a congregation had "heard"
things about each other that they immediately began to
spread to others. Word got back to both of them concerning
what the other was doing, and the fight was on. This went on
for years until finally the local preacher exposed the
account of the altar of witness in the record of Joshua.
Both women embraced immediately after the sermon, and began
to make things right with all those infected by their
Rumors and gossip are like the flea-bites in
Europe during the spread of black plague. They are tiny and
almost indiscernible, but the result is certain death.
Israel had begun to divide the land. Rueben, Gad, and the
half tribe of Manasseh had asked for the land east of the
Jordan. When they arrived, they erected an altar.
Immediately, those west of the Jordan having "heard" what
they did (verse 11), began to spread the rumor that those
tribes worshipped an idol. Their immediate response was to
form an army to prepare for war with their own brethren.
Fortunately, they decided to first send an envoy of elders
and Phinehas the high priest to meet with these brethren.
They came with heavy accusations only to discover that these
brethren built this altar to God just to remind those west
of Jordan that they were brethren. With the vice of rumor
and gossip deeply imbedded in the hearts of those west of
Jordan, those east of the river had a reason to build this
During Winston Churchill's last year in
office he attended an official function. Sitting behind him
a couple of rows were two men who were whispering that they
had heard that Churchill was now senile. When the event
ended, Churchill turned to the men and said, "Some have
heard that I am also deaf." Like Israel, we cannot afford
the cost of rumors and gossip in the church. We should test
what we say to others by its truthfulness and facts. In this
way, we can be sure of what we say, and confident it is
intended to help others and not destroy them. [ The End ]