The Danger of an Assumption

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Joshua 22:10-34
God will always remind us of reality. When we stray from Him, we begin to slip into a world of fantasy. Our imagination is typically lauded well in our culture, but we know that imagination can just as soon get us into trouble. A misread signal can bring bitterness and hatred to our minds if not properly handled. Someone slights us, maybe even without them knowing, and we can carry that burden for the rest of our lives.
So much of what God wants us to do is to let go of these poisonous attitudes, and assume the best about our brothers and sisters in Christ, until proven otherwise. How can we go about that?

The majority of the tribes are ready to fight.

This is a good attitude - IF it is warranted. Deuteronomy 12:1-14
By every aspect of what they see, it is.
Deuteronomy 12:1-14 - this is the closest we get to a direct command concerning “place” where worship is to occur.
The “children of Israel” know and realize that in order to be faithful, they must hold Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh accountable.
God expects us to trust each other - not to be naive! Matthew 10:16
Matthew 10:16 NKJV - "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
As we shall see, this action of going to war is actually based on a zeal without full knowledge.
This attitude is based only upon assumption.
Webster’s 1828: “The act of taking for granted, or supposing a thing without proof; supposition.”
Assumptions: Beliefs taken without sufficient evidence; acceptance of religious ideas based on a personal sense of right and wrong, that seem to us to be right.
The stated assumption (an unfounded charge): REBELLION
Joshua 22:16 NKJV - "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?

The resolution of peace glorifies God.

Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh immediately lean upon the testimony of “the LORD God of gods”.
“If it is rebellion or treachery, do not save us”
Would we be willing to say the same to our brethren? This is a response of shocked humility.
They are UNCONCERNED about immediate reputation.
They ARE CONCERNED that the other side understands why they did what they did, and are willing to openly explain it all.
Not just that they built it - WHY did they build it?
“For fear” - they are concerned that the following generations will not recognize that Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh are truly part of the LORD’s inheritance.
They are worried that the descendants of the other tribes will make their tribes stop fearing God.
This fear is justified!
What if they had been defensive of self?
“How dare you accuse me?!”
They know that any hostility might make the situation worse.
The children of Israel react with love and gratefulness.
“This day we perceive the LORD is among us”
Their ASSUMPTIONS have given way to the true perception that they need.
Given the full picture of the intent and motive concerning the altar, they rejoice in the truth.
What if they had “stuck to their guns”?
Even in their response, they recognize that they would be guilty before the LORD of the blood they would spill. Exodus 20:13

Assumptions are dangerous!

They MAY or MAY NOT be true.
Easy to see that we can run off “half cocked” based upon faulty or nonexistent “evidence”.
What if we simply believe something someone told us?
Sometimes people believe things that are actually based on evidence, but THEY may not have personally verified the evidence. What may be “assumed” by one person may not be an assumption on the part of others , who may have actually determined it to be true based on proper evidence.
God’s approval is based on TRUTH. John 8:32; 17:17; 1 Peter 1:22-23
John 8:32 NKJV - "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Assumptions do not make us free!
John 17:17 NKJV - "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Assumptions do not sanctify us!
1 Peter 1:22-23 NKJV - Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
Assumptions do not purify our souls!
It is up to us to determine precisely what God is asking for. If we trust someone else to study FOR us, what are we truly standing upon?

Assumptions can drive us to do things we may regret.

Concerning “negativity” 1 Kings 22:8; Matt. 16
Ahab ASSUMED that Micaiah hated him, and so he hated Micaiah - 1 Kings 22:8
Peter ASSUMED that the end that Jesus prophesied about Himself would not come to be - Matt. 16
Concerning “life” 1 Kings 2:5; Matthew 27:3; Acts 1:18,25
Joab ASSUMED there was no other conclusion but to slay Abner and Amasa - 1 Kings 2:5
We know based upon Matthew 27:3 and Acts 1:18,25 that Judas was remorseful. He ASSUMED that there was no other end but his death.
Concerning “safety” Matt. 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 18
Peter ASSUMED that he needed to deny Jesus in order to be safe - Matt. 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 18.
Concerning “being right” Job 42:7-9; 2 Kings 5; Acts 26:9
Job’s friends ASSUMED that Job had committed some great sin and directly accused him of unproven, assumed charges! Job 42:7-9
Do we want to face judgment having brought assumed charges upon someone?
Naaman THOUGHT there would be another way – 2 Kings 5
Paul THOUGHT he was right - Acts 26:9 NKJV - "Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
Concerning “justice” 2 Corinthians 2:6-9; 3 John 9-10; 1 John 3:15; Proverbs 14:12; 30:12
2 Corinthians 2:6-9 NKJV - This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.
Diotrephes ASSUMED he could decide based on his own understanding who “belonged” and who didn’t! 3 John 1:9-10
We can take “justice” into our own hands, and skip God in the process! This is an attitude born of hatred and bitterness.
1 John 3:15 NKJV - Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Proverbs 14:12 NKJV - There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 30:12 NKJV - There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness.
Sparkling grape juice can look like wine/champagne. What if someone assumes the wrong thing and acts upon that?
What if someone is imprisoned on false charges?
What if someone goes to their death based on false testimony?
What if a spouse assumes that the other spouse is unfaithful and divorces without any evidence?
We can irrevocably harm the hearts and souls of others by harshness and unrighteous judgment based upon an untrue assumption.
We can be naive or deceived and believe something that is false, to our ruin.
We will be judged on all these things! 2 Cor. 5:10
Do not let right and wrong be perverted - especially among brethren.
Each side in this confrontation was right in its actions and motive! Such is not always the case.
Sometimes we can have the right motive with the wrong action, and vice versa. BOTH of these are wrong.
Smith: “Joshua 22:21–34 (OTSS:BH): Misunderstanding between brethren arises when one group launches into some activity without seeking approval from the congregational leadership and without explaining intentions. Often brothers jump to conclusions about motives without first carefully investigating the situation.”
“If you know, accuse. If you don't know, ask. If you suspect, warn.”
1 Corinthians 13:7 NKJV - bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
If you LOVE your brethren, assume the BEST of them! This is not complicated.
Consider all the assumptions made by the majority of the religious world.
God’s grace covers our sins if we are ignorant to them - whereas the Scriptures show that ignorance is no excuse.
Grace/Love and Law/Obedience are mutually exclusive - whereas God’s behavior, commands, and wisdom incorporate all.
It doesn’t matter if we are right, just have love (be vigilant for the opposite assumption - that we must ALWAYS have the “black or white” answer to everything!).
All assumptions carry with them particular bias and motives that lead people to certain conclusions. Let’s make sure that we answer and guard against our assumptions with the TRUTH!
It is good to be vigilant and militant in our faith. God has commanded so.
We must make sure that vigilance is well-informed and that militancy comes from the correct motive and action.
In making and receiving accusations, we must allow God’s love to overwhelm and motivate ANY consideration. Accuse with humility. Respond with humility.
What do YOU assume about your salvation?
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