Summary: Sometimes we can make rash judgements that cause conflict among God’s people. How to reconcile such conflicts

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Study 16

Chapter 22


Some years ago we as a family had a very enjoyable holiday in the Lake District in England and while we were there we visited a number of the beautiful little villages and towns around that area as well as one or two of the local forests. We didn’t however engage in any serious hill-walking, something for which the Lake District is well-known attracting several thousand ramblers and hill-walkers each year. Although we didn’t get to see it I am told that there is a hill in the lake district called Rash Judgement Point and that it was given that name by William Wordsworth. The story goes that while he and his sister were standing at the top of this hill one day during the harvest season looking down on the lake below, they saw a man in a boat fishing. Angered by this, because the community needed every able-bodied man to be involved in gathering in the harvest, Wordsworth decided to go down the hill and challenge the fisherman for indulging in a leisure activity when he should have been busy at work for the good of the local community. Having called the man to the shore, Wordsworth noticed as he got out of the boat that he was old and bent over. Several fish lay in the boat. The man explained that having worked for years gathering in the crops from the fields he was now unable to do so because of his age and the pains that he suffered. Instead, in order to contribute to the life of the community at harvest time, he got up well before dawn and spent all day fishing the lake for fish to add to the communities resources. Wordsworth had passed judgement upon a man’s actions without first giving the man an opportunity to explain his actions. Having listened to the man’s explanation he felt so convicted about the hasty judgement he had made that he named the hill from which he had first seen the man fishing, Rash Judgement point.

This evening as part of our study in Joshua 22 we are going to see that a section of God’s people jumped to the wrong conclusion about some of their brethren when they misinterpreted their actions and attributed to them motives that were in fact far from what their brethren intended. Such a misunderstanding, such rash judgement had the potential to bring the two parties into conflict and to destroy the unity of the people of God. However as we shall see that potential danger was averted.

Misunderstandings, jumping to the wrong conclusions, attributing sinful and evil motives to someone in relation to something they have done, all of these are, sadly, quite common occurrences in Churches today and have the potential to create division and disunity among the people of God.

As we come to the 22nd chapter of Joshua we enter the final section of the book. The land is now under the control of God’s people. The tribes have each received their allotted portion of land and now they must begin, in the settled environment of Canaan, to live as the people of God in subservience to God and in obedience to his Law. 9 ½ tribes will live on the Eastern side of the Jordan in the land of Canaan itself, while the other two and a half tribes, those of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh would live on the Eastern side of the Jordan which had been given to them as their inheritance. Now that the land was under Israelite control, it was time for the 2 ½ tribes to return home and the narrative of ch22 is very much centred around the events that occurred as these 2 ½ tribes go back to their own land.

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