Prejudging Others

Bible Reading: Numbers 27:15-23; 32; 33:50-56; 34; 35:1-8; Deuteronomy 4:41-43; 25:17-19
Listen to Numbers 27
Listen to Numbers 32
Listen to Numbers 34

The Gadites and Reubenites asked Moses to give them the land east of the Jordan as their inheritance, instead of making them cross over the Jordan to posses the land west of the river. Moses immediately assumed that it was because they were afraid of the Canaanites, just as their fathers were. He accused them of being a "brood of sinners", spreading discouragement like their fathers did, and "making the Lord even more angry with Israel" (32:14). They answered him, saying that they were ready and willing to help Israel fight the Canaanites, but they wanted to settle in the land east of the Jordan because it was good pastureland for their flocks. Moses accepted their offer, but warned them, "if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. Build cities for your women and children, and pens for your flocks, but do what you have promised" (32:23-24).

Sometimes we assume that we know the hearts of others, including those in our family, and we too easily judge their intentions or doubt their sincerity. May we leave the judgment of their hearts to God alone, for only he can truly know their thoughts and motives. May we open our ears to listen to others with interest, accepting their words at face value. May we open our minds to believe the best of them, open our spirits to accept them as they are, open our hearts to love them without conditions, open our eyes to see their strengths, and open our mouths to encourage them. "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way" (Rom. 14:13). Let us remove the obstacle of our judging attitude (no matter how well we think we know someone), and, instead, "make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification" (Rom. 14:19).