April 20: “Don’t Jump to Conclusions Before Talking It Out”

7 Minute Read

Today’s Bible Reading:

Joshua 21:1-22:20
Luke 20:1-26
Psalm 89:1-13
Proverbs 13:15-16

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Joshua 22:11-12 (NLT): “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.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Have you ever jumped to a conclusion? Have you ever thought you completely understood a situation, made an assessment that caused you to get angry at someone – and then found out that your assessment was wrong?

We all have!

Every one of us has been guilty of jumping to conclusions. Instead of gathering as much information as possible, we recklessly collect only a few facts and then assume that we have enough information to make a definitive decision. Then, we justify our anger and condemnation. But if we take an honest assessment, we are often wrong and must humbly apologize.

In today’s Bible reading, we come across a story where the error of jumping to conclusions is beautifully illustrated. It is found in Joshua 22. Here’s what happened:

After the Promised Land had been conquered, Joshua released the Israelite tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them that they had been faithful in carrying out their end of the bargain by helping the other tribes conquer the land. They were free to go back to their home on the east side of the Jordan River.

On their way back, though, they “stopped to build a large and imposing altar” (Joshua 22:10). Why did they do this? Listen to their explanation. We have no reason to doubt the veracity of their words…

Joshua 22:26-27 (NLT): “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.’”

So, their motives were pure, and there was nothing essentially wrong with what they did. But, before their intentions were explained, someone jumped to a conclusion! They were almost killed for their actions!

Joshua 22:11-12 (NLT): “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.”

Why was the rest of Israel willing to go to war against the 2 1/2 tribes who had built the altar? We see later in the chapter that they misjudged their motives. They assumed that it was an alternate place of worship. That being the case, there was fear that God would bring judgment upon all of them for this act (Joshua 22:15-20).

Fortunately, reason prevailed, and they talked before taking action (Joshua 22:15-31). As a result, they went away peaceably. No one got hurt, and the bond of their relationship remained strong.

So, what about you? Do you find it easy to jump to conclusions? When you make an assumption regarding someone’s intentions or actions that you believe to be wrong or sinful, do you go to them and talk it out, or do you hold onto your critical attitude and maybe engage in gossip or even slander?

As we saw in this story, there’s a good chance that you could be completely wrong in your assessment.

Don’t jump to a conclusion! Patiently gather facts. Love others enough to talk things out. Satan would love to divide God’s people. There is more than enough division these days. Let’s not join them.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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