4/16 Joshua 22:19

19 But now, if the land of your possession is unclean, pass over into the LORD's land where the LORD's tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us. Only do not rebel against the LORD or make us as rebels by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the LORD our God.

When the conquest of Canaan was complete, the tribes that came from east of the Jordan returned home to their families. Before they crossed the Jordan, they made an imposing altar. The other tribes heard about it and assumed they were making an alternate place of worship, something other than the Tabernacle, which was a thing they were forbidden to do in the laws of Moses.

The tribes on the west had enough of disobedience that resulted in plagues and defeat. They gathered their forces to go to war with their brothers on the east to stop any rebellion against God. They knew one rebel's actions would hurt the entire nation.

Why didn't Joshua just send an emissary to ask what they were thinking? Assuming a heart motivation behind an action can get us into some serious trouble. Just ask! It happens between friends, family members, and nations and can be devastating to relationships.

However, the hearts of the tribes of the west were in the right place. We can see that the nation finally understood the consequence of rebelling against God. Finally they want the whole nation to stay in the will and ways of God. They just needed to learn how to communicate with the tribes now spread out over the land.

Question: Have you learned the lessons they learned? Will you avoid making assumptions about the heart behind another's actions?