Quick To Judge! (Joshua 22:11-12)

When I gave official notice to my former partners that I was leaving the group to begin my own laboratory, I signed a non-compete agreement that prevented me from soliciting any of my current clients who were using me as their consultant. I began my new laboratory with nothing and the first few weeks were spent cold calling former associates and residents. However, no one bothered to explain this to our salespeople resulting in a flurry of activity and drastic change in their behavior. They refused to give me updates on my old clients, even if there was an issue that needed my attention. Whenever I approached, they stopped their conversations, fearful I may learn privileged information on potential new clients that I might steal for my own laboratory. It was only after I met with one of my former partners in the presence of the salespeople that the entire situation was explained and the hostility diminished. 

So quick to judge! 

The Bible records a similar incident. Israel finally had peace after nearly thirty years of warfare, conquering most of the promised land of Canaan. Yet at a time when the people should have been united and thankful for God’s providence for keeping His promises, a new crisis emerged. There was news that three of their tribes were building an altar, separate from the holy Tabernacle, the centerpiece of all Israel’s worship. 

The rest of Israel heard that the people of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had built an altar at Geliloth at the edge of the land of Canaan, on the west side of the Jordan River. So the whole community of Israel gathered at Shiloh and prepared to go to war against them.

Joshua 22:11-12 (NLT)

The leaders of Israel assumed these three tribes were planning to split off from the rest of Israel, by setting up their own altar of worship, and were ready to go to war to prevent this. Thankfully, the leaders of Israel sent Phinehas, a respected high priest, to meet with three tribes and investigate what was truly happening. Their answer to him was a welcome relief. 

So we decided to build the altar, not for burnt offerings or sacrifices, but as a memorial. It will remind our descendants and your descendants that we, too, have the right to worship the LORD at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and peace offerings. Then your descendants will not be able to say to ours, “You have no claim to the LORD.”

Joshua 22:26-27 (NLT)

The three tribes were building the altar as a memorial to God’s faithfulness to them. Phinehas was satisfied and when he explained the situation to the anxious leaders of Israel, the crisis was averted. 

So quick to judge! Am I any different? Like my former associates, how often do I jump to conclusions with flimsy circumstantial evidence? God gives us lessons through His Word that before we are too quick to judge leading to a hasty conclusion, we should take the time to investigate. Trust but verify. 

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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