Summary: Wisdom is acting in accordance with God's revealed will. Knee-jerk reactions cause great harm. See the other sermons is this series for more details. Handouts are available on request.
This is part 3 of a series. See the other messages for the context.
III. U – Understand (Proverbs 18:13)
Have I taken the time to get an understanding of the matter from every angle, every perspective? Do I fully understand the circumstances?
ILLUS: Television shows have for decades used the dual understanding them as the plot of an episode. I remember an episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Martha saw her husband, Emmett the fix-it man, with a pretty young lady. Martha worried herself silly thinking that Emmett was being unfaithful to her. As the show proceeds, we learn that Emmett has been shopping for a mink coat for his wife’s birthday. As it turned out, the young woman that Emmett was with happened to be the sales person for the mink coat store. While it might make for funny television, harmful assumptions are not very funny when they disrupt our relationships.
• Things are not always as they seem.
• People are not always what they appear to be.
• Situations, once studied, may be far different than our first impression would lead us to believe.
• Before I act, I should try to understand the matter at hand from every angle, every viewpoint.
• Let’s look briefly at four Bible narratives that illustrate the importance of understanding a situation before we do anything about it.
Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
A. BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATION 1: THE ALTAR OF THE RUEBENITES AND GADITES (JOSHUA 22)
• We all remember that, after the water from the rock incident, Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land.
• The responsibility of entering and taking the land falls upon Joshua’s shoulders.
• By the time you come to chapter 22, much of the work (but not all) of displacing the locals to make room for the 12 tribes is coming to an end.
• According to the agreement, the tribes would help one another to take their portion of Canaan.
1. The Dismissal (Joshua 22:1-5)
• The warriors of the “Transjordan” tribes of Rueben, Gad and ½ Manasseh have been away from their wives and children for some 7 years.
• Joshua commends them for their faithfulness to their promise to their fellow Israelites, and sends them home.
Joshua 22:1–5 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, 2 And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you: 3 Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God. 4 And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan. 5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
2. The Distance (Joshua 22:9 ff.)
• Excitedly, they go home across the Jordan.
• Hear the description of this land from the Bible Knowledge Commentary.
Joshua 22:9 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go unto the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, whereof they were possessed, according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
QUOTE: Leaving Shiloh, the armies of the Eastern tribes headed excitedly for home. As they approached the Jordan River their minds were probably flooded with memories of the miraculous crossing seven years before, of the remarkable victory over nearby Jericho, and of the other triumphs shared with their brothers from whom they had so recently separated. A sense of isolation from the other tribes began to sweep over them. But this was not simply because an ordinary river would separate the Eastern from the Western tribes, for the Jordan is not an ordinary river. Mountains on each side rise to heights above 2,000 feet and the Jordan Valley nestled in between is in effect a great trench 5 to 13 miles wide. During a part of the year the intense heat greatly discourages travelers. This then was a very pronounced river boundary and may have contributed to the fear of these tribesmen that they and their brethren would permanently drift apart. After all, “out of sight” is often “out of mind.” What then could be done to keep alive the ties of comradeship forged by those long years of united struggles? What could be done to symbolize the unity between the people on both sides of the river, to remind everyone that they were all the children of the promise?