The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
August 19, 1990
1) Hasty Judgments Can Lead To Misjudgments
Hasty Judgments Can Lead To Misjudgments
by Tom Edwards
God's promise to give His people the land of Canaan was fulfilled soon
after the beginning of the Mosaical period. Joshua 21:43-45 reads: "So
the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to
their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it...not a
man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all
their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing
which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass."
Now the battles were over; the land had been divided among the tribes
of Israel; and the Reubenites, Gadites, and half of the tribe of
Mannaseh returned to their territory, east of the Jordan
Soon, however, a misunderstanding had arisen between these tribes and
those Israelite tribes west of the Jordan River; this we can see in the
following passage: Joshua 22:10-12,16: "And when they came to the
region of the Jordan which is in the land of Canaan, the children of
Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh built an
altar there by the Jordan -- a great, impressive altar. Now the
children of Israel heard someone say, `Behold, the children of Reuben,
the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar
on the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region of the Jordan, on
the side occupied by the children of Israel.' And when the
children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children
of Israel gathered together at Shiloh to go to war against
them.... Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord: `What
treachery is this
that you have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this
day from following the Lord, in that you have built for yourselves an
altar, that you might rebel this day against the Lord?'"
These nine and a half tribes became so enraged with their brethren on
the other side of the river that they were ready to fight, for they
viewed them as being idolatrous, unfaithful, and rebellious towards the
It is so easy for people today, just as it had been for those in
Joshua's day, to jump to the wrong conclusions -- having not understood
or known of all the facts. The story has been told about a six-year-old
boy who came home from school one day with a note from his
teacher. The note suggested that the boy be taken out of school
because he was "too stupid to learn." The boy was Thomas Alva Edison.
Another reason for making misjudgments is because people are often
prejudice and hold partiality towards their own views; thus they
generally see others as being "less informed." Many people hate to
admit to their own mistakes and will sometimes go to extremes in trying
to maintain a defenseless and absurd position. A conductor checking
tickets in a train to Brussels once announced: "Everybody please get
out at the next stop -- you are in the wrong train." Astonished, the
passengers looked about at each other. Soon, however, the truth was
discovered that it was the conductor and not the passengers who had
boarded the wrong train.
Was the majority of Israel right for accusing Reuben, Gad, and the
half-tribe of Mannaseh of idolatry and rebellion? Had they truly
understood the motives for these two and a half tribes setting up the
altar? If they had, surely they would not have acted so
belligerently towards them. The purpose for this altar was not so they
could become idolatrous, but rather it was to stand as a memorial for
the descendants of the children of Israel west of the Jordan that they
might not look down upon the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe
of Mannaseh and consider them as heathens; but rather remember the time
in which these two and a half tribes aided the rest of Israel in
conquering the Promised Land; and, as a result, would not be able to
say to them that "You have no portion in the Lord...." (Josh. 22:21-29).
Notice the effect this truth had upon the Israelites west of the
Jordan: "So the thing pleased the children of Israel, and the
children of Israel blessed God; they spoke no more of going against
them in battle, to destroy the land where the children of Reuben and
Gad dwelt. And the children of Reuben and the children of
Gad called the altar, Witness, `For it is a witness between us that the
Lord is God'" (Josh. 22:33,34).
How soon people's attitudes often change when they know the rest of the
story. Several years ago a Santa Fe train was speeding through
Oklahoma. In one of the coaches a young women was desperately trying to
take care of a restless baby, whose crying was disturbing the other
passengers. Across the isle a man shouted: "Can't you keep that child
quiet?" On taking a further look at the young woman, he noticed that
her dress was one of mourning. Then she replied gently, "I can not help
it. The child is not mine. I am doing my best." The man then asked of
the whereabouts of the mother to whom the woman answered, "In her
coffin, sir, in the baggage car up ahead." Moved with compassion, the
man now took the baby up in his arms, kissed it, and then walked up and
down the isle with the little child, trying to make up for his
harshness. His perspective and attitude had definitely changed after
learning the full truth.
Yes, it is easy for any of us to make misjudgments if we are unaware of
all of the facts. May we each learn the principle that Christ teaches
in John 7:24 to "...not judge according to appearance, but judge with
Real love is a love that is patient, kind, not envious; a love that
"believes all things" (1 Cor. 13:7), which is not indicative of
gullibility, but connotes a willingness to give others the benefit of
the doubt and takes the kindest views of other's actions and
circumstances rather than being overly suspicious.
May we never be hasty to charge others with impure or ulterior motives
before we know the rest of the story. Remember, hasty judgments
can lead to misjudgments.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
(Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
First published for the Tri-state church of Christ in Ashland,
Kentucky, at 713 13th Street.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards