Joshua 22:21-23 (KJV) Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel, 22 The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it is in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD, (save us not this day,) 23 That we have built us an altar to turn from following the LORD, or if to offer thereon burnt offering or meat offering, or if to offer peace offerings thereon, let the LORD himself require it;
Ask the question. Things are not always what they may appear to be. Oftentimes, we make life’s decisions based upon the optics of a situation. However, the optics are not always clear without having an intimate knowledge of the underlying facts of the situation. When we make decisions and act upon our assumptions, we run the risk of alienating ourselves from some of our most intimate relationships. This is not how God intended for us to live.
Understanding The Context
We can observe the beginning of this type of behavior in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3). Eve received information that seemed to be true. It sounded true. It was laced with truth. Yet, she did not consult with the One Whose character was being questioned. She had access to the Creator, so why did she not consult with Him? Would there have been a different result? I am certain that it would have been different. All she had to do was simply ask the question. How can I speak with such certainty? Look at today’s reference verse.
After the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh returned to the eastern side of Jordan River. Once there, they erected an altar as a monument in honor of what God had done for them. However, some of the children Israel reported to Joshua that the eastern tribes erected the altar in rebellion to the covenant they made with God.
Joshua could have relied solely upon the report of the people, but he sent ambassadors to the eastern tribes to inquire about the concern instead. Upon hearing the concerns of their leadership, the eastern tribes explained the purpose of the altar. They stated that its purpose should be viewed as a monument rather than an altar to serve other deities. The ambassadors reported the findings to Joshua and the concern was dismissed, and a potential disaster averted.
The lesson for each of us to take away from this is that the situation may not be what they appear to be. It is better to inquire about a matter than to make an assumption. We will never know until we ask the question.