Hi everyone, I hope you are all fine by God’s. Today’s post is about huge misunderstandings.
According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, a misunderstanding is a situation in which a comment, an instruction, etc., is not understood properly. Also, it can be defined as a slight disagreement or argument.
I won’t surprise you if I said that amongst friends, misunderstandings can easily occur. We’re going to dive into a story in The Bible in order to understand how to deal with huge misunderstandings.
In Joshua chapter 22, we read about a misunderstanding between the tribes of Israël.
1. Israël was made up of twelve tribes, amongst which Joseph’s tribe which was divided into two (Ephraim and Manasseh).
2. In conquering the promised land, part part of the tribes of Israël settled on one side of river Jordan (Reubenites, Gadites and Manasseh’s half-tribe) and the ten other tribes were on the other side.
Joshua 22:1,4 KJV
Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,  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.
3. God had specifically given instructions about altars. He was to be worshipped at a single place and no one was to build an altar different from where He was to be worshipped. Building an altar elsewhere and making sacrifices on it while on the territory of the promised land was synonymous to making sacrifices to idols.
4. The Reubenites, Gadites and Manasseh’s half tribe built an altar on their side of the Jordan.
5. The other tribes of Israël heard about what their sister-tribes did. They immediately concluded that the altar was built as a sign of disobedience to God, and turning away from Him.
Joshua 22:16 KJV
Thus saith the whole congregation of the Lord , What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the Lord , in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the Lord ?
6. They made up their minds to start a war against their sister-tribes to destroy their territory. It was their responsibility to make sure that all Israël served The Lord, and those who wouldn’t serve God were to be destroyed, if not they were going to contaminate the people of Israël in general, and God’s punishment was going to fall on everyone.
Deuteronomy 13:12-18 NIV
If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt, and none of the condemned things are to be found in your hands. Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors— because you obey the Lord your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.
The zeal of the other 10 tribes of Israël was admirable, being ready to give up on their brotherhood with the other tribes and fighting them for The Lord. Treating radically with sin was amongst God’s instructions to them.
Nevertheless, they had been fast at interpreting what their sister-tribes did. When we read the chapter till the end, we notice that actually it had never been their plan to turn away from God. Actually they built the altar as a souvenir for their offspring for them to know that on both sides of the Jordan, the tribes of Israël all served the same God. The altar was a form of testimony.
Joshua 22:22, 24-25, 27, 29 NIV
“The Mighty One, God, the Lord ! The Mighty One, God, the Lord ! He knows! And let Israel know! If this has been in rebellion or disobedience to the Lord , do not spare us this day. “No! We did it for fear that some day your descendants might say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the Lord , the God of Israel? The Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you—you Reubenites and Gadites! You have no share in the Lord .’ So your descendants might cause ours to stop fearing the Lord . On the contrary, it is to be a witness between us and you and the generations that follow, that we will worship the Lord at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices and fellowship offerings. Then in the future your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You have no share in the Lord .’ “Far be it from us to rebel against the Lord and turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings and sacrifices, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle.”
How would the 10 other tribes have known if they hadn’t done this special thing that we tend to rarely do?_GIVING A CHANCE TO THE OTHER ONE TO EXPLAIN HIS/HERSELF.
Joshua 22:12-14 KJV
And when the children of Israel heard of it , the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them.  And the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest,  And with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes of Israel; and each one was an head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel.When you read this story, you notice that the 10 tribes didn’t just bump into the other tribes and start war.
They have them a chance by sending 10 princes (1 from each tribe) to enquire from their brother-tribes the reason behind their altar, and to remind them that building another altar was a disobedience to God.
Hopefully, their explanation was sufficient enough to convince the other 10 tribes and once the misunderstanding was cleared, they blessed The Lord and changed their mind on attacking their sister-tribes.
Joshua 22:31-34 KJV
And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, This day we perceive that the Lord is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the Lord : now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the Lord .  And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again.  And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt.  And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed : for it shall be a witness between us that the Lord is God.
How many of us even give others the chance of explaining themselves? How many of us even believe them when they explain themselves? Do you think there would have been peace between if the 10 princes and the 10 tribes in general hadn’t even believed what their brother-tribes told them and had said something like “Sorry, we’re sceptical and we don’t believe you”?.
Misunderstandings can happen in every relationships, but it’s our own responsibility to :
- Give them a chance to explain themselves
- Believe them or not
- Change our mind about them (and of course about what we had planned to do to them)
I hope that the next time you’ll think of condemning someone, you’ll remember that the choice is yours, to listen to them and believe the best of them or to condemn them.
Eternal Lord King of Glory, thank You for teaching me the importance of communication in relationships and the importance of not acting in a haste. Please Lord, help me believe the best of others and help me give them opportunities to explain themselves. I am now aware of the fact that I can reasonably change my mind about people and repent from my harsh decisions against them. Thank You Lord, in Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen.
Thanks for reading.
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