The Danger of Assumption and Misunderstanding

Joshua 22:1-34

I read about a lady who decided to take her lunch break in the café across the street from her workplace. She bought a small cellophane pack of cookies and a newspaper on her way. After finding a booth, she ordered a cup of coffee and settled down to read her paper in solitude.

Before long, she became aware of someone across from her. She peered from behind her paper to see an elderly man smiling at her and opening up "her" package of cookies! He nodded at here and popped one into his mouth. The nerve! she thought. So she reached across the table, pulled the cookies to her side, ate one to send him a message, and returned to her reading.

She soon heard the cellophane rattle again as her unwelcome neighbor ate another cookie and smiled at her. How dare he repeat this crime! She stretched across the table, snatched the pack of cookies, and ate another with more zeal just to make her point.

She tried to focus on the national events in her newspaper, but horrors, he was at it again. She could take no more! She retrieved the nearly empty cookie wrapper and firmly crunched the last cookie. The elderly man smiled, stood up, and walked away. The woman mumbled to herself about people with a lot of nerve and about a wasted lunch hour. She got up, tucked the paper under her arm, and took her check for the coffee to the cashier.

She thought about complaining to the café manager. As she reached in her purse for her wallet, the rattling of the cellophane on her package of cookies silenced her. To her embarrassment, she realized that she had been eating the man's cookies! She assumed that he had been eating her cookies, and was angry over a simple misunderstanding.

This has always been a problem with mankind, and it was a problem with the nation of Israel too. In our passage this evening, we will see that even after all their great victories they found themselves in a situation that almost led to a civil war among themselves because of assumption and misunderstanding. We can avoid most misunderstandings if we simply take the time to honestly seek the truth.

I. Changes Often Lead To Misunderstanding

II. The Misunderstanding v11-20

III. The Resolution of the Conflict v21-30

IV. The Application for Today.

What's in a person's heart will ultimately be revealed in how they respond to the truth. If someone is truly seeking what is right and what is best for the body of believers then they will rejoice when a problem has been resolved. But if their intentions are not right to begin with, then they will never be happy with the answers they receive and will look for other reasons to bring discord among the brethren.