Beware of Jumping to Conclusions

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Joshua 22:23-24 (NIV)
If we have built our own altar to turn away from the Lord and to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it, may the Lord himself call us to account. “No! We did it for fear that some day your descendants might say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the Lord, the God of Israel?

Joshua 22:23-24 (MSG)
If we built ourselves an altar in rebellion against God, if we did it to present on it Whole-Burnt-Offerings or Grain-Offerings or to enact there sacrificial Peace-Offerings, let God decide. “But that’s not it. We did it because we cared. We were anxious lest someday your children should say to our children, ‘You’re not connected with God, the God of Israel!
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“If we have built an altar for ourselves to turn away from following the Lord, or if [we did so] to offer a burnt offering or grain offering on it, or if to offer sacrifices of peace offerings on it, may the Lord Himself require it [of us and hold us responsible]. But in truth we have done this out of concern, for a reason, saying, ‘In time to come your sons (descendants) may say to our sons, “What claim do you have to the Lord, the God of Israel?” -AMPLIFIED

The past few days we have looked at Joshua’s release from duty of the tribes When the people of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh came to the western bank of the Jordan, although still in the land of Canaan, they built an immense altar there by the river. When the other people of Israel heard that the people of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh had built a huge altar on the frontier of Canaan on the side of the Jordan given to them, they feared the altar was going to be used to worship the gods of the land of Canaan. So the Israelites all gathered at Shiloh and talked of going to war against the tribes across the Jordan.. Scripture tells us that they went back to their army tents, packed up, and set off toward home. They were not going to let any grass grow under their feet. They were ready to go home to their families.

Something happened on the way home though. Before crossing the Jordan River to finish their journey home we find these men who had served did something that caused a bit of misunderstanding to all the other tribes. “When the people of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh came to the western bank of the Jordan, although still in the land of Canaan, they built an immense altar there by the river. When the other people of Israel heard that the people of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh had built a huge altar on the frontier of Canaan on the side of the Jordan given to them, they feared the altar was going to be used to worship the gods of the land of Canaan. So the Israelites all gathered at Shiloh and talked of going to war against the tribes across the Jordan. ” -Joshua 22:10-12 (VOICE)

What was the problem here? The problem was that the other tribes had misinterpreted what Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh were doing. They thought that Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh were turning their backs on Jehovah to worship false gods; which would be punishable by death by stoning; when in fact, Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh were building an altar as a memorable.

Thankfully the other tribes used a little bit of wisdom and instead of setting out on the war path they sent an emissary to speak directly to these men. The other tribes decided to do this: “But first they appointed the priest Phinehas, son of Eleazar, to travel with chiefs, one from each Israelite tribe and each clan who were settled in the land of Canaan, to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh in the land of Gilead.” -Joshua 22:13-14 (VOICE)

Beware of jumping to conclusions. The other tribes had a flawed impression of what Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh were doing. Their information or impressions were not accurate and because of this they arrived at the wrong conclusion and almost wiped out their brothers. They could have learned a lesson from Ecclesiastes 7:9 “Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools.” (NASB)

When you’re forming your opinions,
Do it carefully—go slow;
Hasty judgments oft are followed
By regretting—that I know. —Anon.

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to slow down and not make hasty accusations; for too often when I go quickly I make bad judgments. I do not want to be one who jumps to conclusions and in so doing hurts others. Allow your Holy Spirit to give me wisdom. Help me to listen to your still, small voice; which will lead me to serve, help, and love, not judge. I want to be like Jesus; not like the Pharisees. Fill me with your love and compassion so that I will see the good in others, Lord. Help me to love them like Jesus.

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