Heading to Uganda in April with Unchanging Truth Ministries means I need to get on a disciplined schedule of studying and preparing for the teaching sessions. And get on it NOW. I believe God will leave me just short of feeling prepared, so he can do "his thing" and I am counting on him taking a heart willing and fill in the shortage on knowledge and polish.
I am so excited and yet also so humbled by the idea of encouraging women from the village of Kakira who work so much harder, walk so much further, have so much less, and so will not be able to relate to any cultural examples from America.
When I am speaking I exhale word pictures, descriptions, examples...I just do. This explains why people are often glazed over & nodding long before I am at all finished with the museum worthy piece of masterpiece that is rolling off my tongue. It's probably why every blog post I write contains twice the wordage it really requires...and 127 lines before I get to the topic at hand! I like to flower it up, make it bloom, I'm a gardener like that and completely not the other kind at all.
So anything having to do with tangibles or material-things-Americanwomanish will be completely inappropriate for Uganda, like most of what I have in my closet, which is why, my perspective and my wardrobe need a makeover of sorts. So I've got to get on it...which lead me to a most amazing discovery the other day when a 5 car hour post-snow adventure, allowed me to happen upon Joshua 22 where the chapter title "offensive altar" jumped out at me and I had to dig in because for heaven's sake I do not want to ever accidentally or otherwise find myself anywhere near such a thing.
If I understand the drama of Joshua 22, a couple of tribes and a 1/2 tribe were sent on their merry way to return to lives in the promised land after completing some other mission. Given instructions and reminded of their commitments to the Lord, they set off.
After crossing the Jordan and still on someone else's land, they stopped and set up an altar. Somebody spotted them and reported that the travellers had already forgotten the rules of life and worship and were bowing down to idols. The Israelites "the WHOLE assembly of Israel" gathered at Shiloh to wage war against them.
Ok, points for being willing to wage war for the sake of their LORD. But....But...BUT... first.....
Enter Phinehas, son of the priest of the travelling clans......a.k.a. PK with an established relationship with the"accused".
And get this...listen...they send Phinehas with a lot of other really important leaders to check out the rumor and they ask them "How can you break faith with the God of Israel like this? How could you turn away from the LORD and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against him now?..." which is code for "You idiots, you just left us and you're already getting us in all kinds of trouble!"
Pregnant pause...LOVE IT!...The travellers responded "The Mighty One, God, the LORD!...He knows! ..." and they told them the altar was to honor God, not for any other offerings. Which is code for "You thought wrong, don't believe the rumor, the truth is we are honoring God only!"
Apparently, back in Deut 13 starting at verse 12, the Israelites were given instruction to destroy any city, anybody that might lead the rest of Israel astray, but...but...not before the RUMOR was proven true.
In other words, it has always been possible to see not-clearly and no action should be taken until the truth was known. So God, knew we were likely to make judgements on bad evidence or appearance and he set up the guidelines for the accused to have an opportunity to right things up.
Joshua and Phinehas knew the law, knew the drill and followed through. Return to the end of Joshua 22 and verse 33 records "They were glad to hear the report and praised God. And they talked no more about going to war against them..."
Love it...Love it!!! LOVE IT! Why? I've been on both sides of this scenario. Been the accused when nobody came to ask about the truth and I've been the distant accuser. And the devastation? my word sometimes there is no end to it and even if the truth comes out at a later time, the hurt caused during the delay has felt near fatal.
Phinehas, my hero of the week and the weak. I have seen 10 follow an accuser, holding the accusation as fact and allowing the damage to fly, but I can't for the life of me remember a moment when someone lead a group to the suspiscious and gave them opportunity to explain before war, albiet, secret or silent or behind the scenes war.
Leading the leaders, 10 of them on a mission to find out the truth and then listening, taking the truth back to all of Israel allowing the restoration of both peace and the reputation of the travellers. That's my Phinehas! , Don't you just know the talk among the Israelites going on while P was on his fact finding mission was about tactic and plunder and God's defenders were mightly worked up for a riotous fight. Phinehas could teach a Sunday school class I say on turning down the drama and accepting the truth even in the face of appearance to the contrary.
A hidden treasure I say. Don't know if the women of Uganda will get a taste of battling the rumor mill, God's way. My assignment is Women of the Bible. But boy if we get anywhere near the way women work, I believe my hero, Mr. P, shall make a polite appearance. Truth...Treasure...Love it!