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The problem of jumping to conclusions Joshua 22
The problem of jumping to conclusions
Joshua 22

This morning we are going to finish our mini journey through the Book of Joshua.

The big call of the Book of Joshua is for us to BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS (Joshua 1:9). Strong and courageous in following the Lord, in doing what is right in His sight, in standing up for His truth. The basis: God with us.

As for it's details, the Book of Joshua spells out how the Israelites came to possess the land that God had promised to their ancestor Abraham 400 years prior. This introduces us to another big theme of the Book of Joshua:
GOD ALWAYS KEEPS HIS PROMISES.

Have you ever jumped to conclusions?

To jump to conclusions is to automatically assume something

To jump to conclusions means to come to your own meaning of the situation without thinking or taking in all the facts or looking at it from all different sides; to "jump" ahead and believe that you know the results of something without all of the information.

This past week I noticed that I jumped to conclusions a couple of times. In one case I was trying to get a hold of someone (who is not here) by text- and because I wasn't hearing back from them (when I normally do) I just assumed that they were mad at me. This of course led to me being peeved with them. After a few days guess what, I learned that they had changed cell phone numbers. So there you go, a classic example of jumping to conclusions and the sin that can come from it (for this is what most often happens when we jump to conclusions-- we sin in hearts and by action against God and the other person)

In the passage of Scripture we are going to look at today a war almost breaks out in Israel because both parties made assumptions about the other that were not true. So please turn with me now to Joshua 22 and lets learn together a bit more about who God is and how to follow Him.

READ TEXT


A WALK THRU THE TEXT

I. Note how our text starts off so innocently and so happily v.1-9

1. Joshua commends the 2.5 tribes for their faithfulness, for their obedience to God, for their perseverance, for their sacrifices, for their brotherhood

Backstory: Numbers 32 tells us that these 2.5 tribes asked Moses if the land on the east side of the Jordan could be there inheritance since it was great for livestock. Initially Moses perceived there request as an evil plot to get out of the work of taking the promised land but this fear was allayed when those tribes agreed to lead the armies of Israel in the conquest of the land and not go home until the land was won.

So here we are, 7 plus years later, the men had completed their commitment and their is great joy in their hearts and in all the people of Israel. To them a blessing is given, a commendation is bestowed.

An interesting thought: The commendation and blessing that Joshua gave to them is a type for the commendation from God that we look forward to after serving Him here in this life. "Well done good and faithful servant, enter into my rest"

2. Joshua reminds them (who had been faithful) to keep on with the LORD, being diligent to love, obey, and follow Him v.5

The reminder that Joshua gave them (with no sense of judgment) is a reminder that we need at all times for we need to always be vigilant to be a people of the Word, committed to obeying God, committed to not living as the world, but living according to the commands of God--- as an act of devotion and love.

Again we are reminded that to love God is to obey Him from our hearts.

1 John 5:2-3 says; "This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome"


II. Things take a sharp turn in v.10-12- going very wrong

Have you ever noticed how so very fast things can go wrong in a relationship/friendship? It doesn't take much- an errant word, gossip, a misunderstanding, jumping to conclusions, selfishness, etc. (it's because we are sinners, it's because we are impatient, it's because we are not as gracious or forgiving as we should be)

Relationships take work. They necessitate commitment, forgiveness, patience, not keeping a record of wrongs, sacrifice. Christ has set the example for us, calling us to true love.

As for our text: Call it dramatic tension if you like, but in a heart beat all feelings of good will that the 9.5 tribes had for the 2.5 tribes evaporated about 5 seconds after they heard that on their way home the 2.5 tribes had built a giant altar at the river Jordan (right at the border between their land and their brothers land)

Assuming that the 2.5 tribes had abandoned the LORD, the 9.5 tribes gathered for war- to wipe out their brothers (who had just been commended by Joshua for their courage, their faithfulness, and their obedience to God)

Some of you may be wondering "Why did the tribes arm themselves for war, to wipe out their own brethren?" "What was the big deal about the 2.5 tribes building an altar?"

The answer lies in Leviticus 17:8-9 which says; "Say to them: 'Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice and does not bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to sacrifice it to the Lord must be cut off from the people of Israel."

In short: to offer sacrifices to God at any other place than where God designated was grounds expulsion from Israel. It was tantamount to treason against God.


III. Despite jumping to conclusions and preparing for war, a delegation was sent to talk to the 2.5 tribes before their armies attacked

Well, not really to talk-- but to CONFRONT.

In confronting their brethren, the worst accusations and sins against them were leveled. Note v.15-20** (Broke faith with God. Turn away from the LORD. What you have done worse than what done at Peor (when the Israelites had sex with the Moabite women and a plague from God came that killed 24000). What you have done is worse than what Achan did in stealing what belonged to God.

If someone came up to you and accused you of a whole list of grievous sins that were false, how would you respond? Would it have been as graciously as the 2.5 tribes responded?


IV. DESPITE BOTH PARTIES JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS, THINGS ENDED WELL. GOD WAS MAGNIFIED. FELLOWSHIP WAS RESTORED.

It's always a beautiful thing in God's kingdom and the church when bad and conflictual situations end well- not because of a compromise of God's truth, but because of his truth and because we are committed to living out the teachings of Christ.

Psalm 133:1 says; "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!

Ephesians 4:3 says; "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace"

Blessed are the peacemakers


SOME further THOUGHTS OF APPLICATION

1. We are too quick to jump to conclusions. We need to learn to slow down and get the facts and details before rushing into action

It's good to have zeal for the Lord, but zeal without knowledge is a bad thing

Proverbs 19:2 says; "It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way."

Again: Get the facts before acting and let's learn to give each other the benefit of the doubt (this means to believe something good about someone rather than something bad)

2. When it comes to conflict and misunderstanding quite often both parties bear some responsibility

The 2.5 tribes assumed that they would be forgotten and excluded- so they acted hastily
The 9.5 tribes assumed that their brethren had abandoned the Lord- and they acted hastily

They both could have done a better job at communicating (so can we)

3. When falsely charged when need to be careful to not take matters into our own hands

Note how the 2.5 tribes, instead of retaliating, appealed to God as their witness. YES, they expressed righteous indignation but they did not retaliate.

Romans 12:17-21 "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"d says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

4. Some things are worth fighting for and over-- but not everything

If the 2.5 tribes had erected an altar and were worshipping at it, that would have been a BIG DEAL!

Core belief's of the Christian faith: Jesus is God. Jesus is the only Savior. Jesus rose from the dead. Salvation is by faith in Jesus and not by works. The Bible is the Word of God and without error; it is the final authority for our faith and practice. Jesus is coming back.

Some things are worth leaving a church over and dying for, but probably too many Christians fight and split over stuff they shouldn't. We argue and fight and walk away from church for a lot of dumb things.

We need to learn how to love each other and be at peace with each other even when we disagree. (And yes, it's ok to switch churches-- but make sure you do so with the right heart and for right reasons)