(May 30, 2014)
I had two thoughts as I read through these chapters. The first was the impossible standard that we set for our Priesthood leaders. In these chapters we have two examples of the Prophet Joshua making errors in the performance of his stewardship and having to correct those errors. Joshua was given an assignment of the Lord to establish inheritances for the tribes, and yet he made Judah’s inheritance too large and Dan’s inheritance too small. Both of these had to be correct.
Today, had President Monson made such a mistake, there would be angry calls for him to resign, that he was a fallen prophet, or that he never was a prophet in the first place. How sad that is that so many people are willing to respect the prophets of the past (even when they made mistakes), but are unwilling to respect the prophets of today if they are given any indication that they are something less than perfect. May we be more charitable to our prophets now, and be willing to follow them even in their mistakes (not because of them, but because of who they represent to us).
The second thought I had was on the sanctuary cities. This was a law that was teaching an important lesson, but it was a lesson out of time and out of place. The sinner retreats to the sanctuary, were he stays trapped until such time as the high priest dies. Then, and only then, he can go free. This is clearly a reference to Christ, but it would not have made very much sense to the average Hebrew who happened to read it. I think that there is a great deal of that going around today – things that don’t seem to make sense to us will one day make perfect sense (if only we are patient enough to wait on the Lord to further enlighten us).