Are you Presumptuous or Prudent? The story in Joshua chapter 22 is a lesson in how to avert a disaster by applying the principle of prudence rather than presumption.
The time has come; the Promised Land has been conquered. So, Joshua hosts a retirement ceremony for the 2 ½ tribes who had asked for land east of the Jordan and had faithfully served the other tribes to conquer the Promised Land. It was time to return home to their families left behind. Joshua offers his accolades and then a challenge.
Be careful to obey Moses’ commands, love God and serve Him with all your heart.
Their “gold watch” was the bounty earned from conquering the enemies. As they begin to near home and arrived at Geliloth, they stop to erect an impressive altar. BUT, it did not take long for the other tribes to get wind of this and the entire Israelite community jumped to the conclusion they were returning to idolatry! They gathered at Shiloh and were ready to go to war against those they had just sent on their way!
To their credit, the hot-heads did not rule but cooler heads wisely and prudently decided it was better to see what was really going on. They sent a delegation with Phinehas as the head to get to the bottom of this altar. As the delegation listened to the heart of these men they came to the conclusion that this was a basic misunderstanding; the altar was a memorial to the rest of the nation that they belonged to the federation lest they say “you don’t belong to us because you are on the other side of the Jordan.”
There is a lesson here for us. A war was averted because some prudent men sought to “get the facts” before setting out to war. Wise counsel is to pray and get the facts so we do not sin presumptuously lest we rip apart what cannot be mended.