96. Think before you speak

The tribes of Gad, Reuben and half the tribe of Manasseh owned vast numbers of livestock. And when they saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead on the east side of the Jordan river were well suited for their livestock, they wanted to remain there. They didn't want to go and live in the Promised Land with the other tribes, as all that they ever wanted were right there. But even though they didn't want to live in the Promised Land, they were prepared to help the other nine and a half tribes to conquer their portion of the land. They were prepared to do just that, because the other tribes helped them in conquering the land that they were going to live in.

So they went to Moses to ask him whether it would be okay if they can have the land on the east side of the Jordan river. Moses immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion. He didn't finish listening to them and started to argue with them.

"Do you mean you want to stay back here while your brothers go across and do all the fighting?" Moses asked the Reubenites and Gadites. "Are you trying to discourage the rest of the people of Israel from going across to the land the Lord has given them?" Numbers 32:6,7. "The Lord was furious with Israel and made them wander in the wilderness for forty years until the whole generation that sinned against Him had died. But here you are, a brood of sinners, doing exactly the same thing! You are making the Lord even angrier with Israel." Numbers 32:13,14

Moses immediately reacted and thought the worst of them. He gave a whole speech to them without even giving them a chance to respond. I only excerpted a piece of the speech here, but he certainly gave them a piece of his mind. It was only when he gave them a chance to respond that they could put his mind at ease that they were merely asking for the land, after they had helped their brothers to defeat their enemies.

We are sometimes like Moses as well. We respond too quickly and easily jump to the wrong conclusions. We assume the worst even before we have heard the other side of the story. A story always has two sides and we need to make sure that we have the whole picture before we respond. We also need to think before we speak. We need to rather gather all the facts together and carefully contemplate as to what to say, before we open our mouths. If we do that, we will save ourselves a lot of heartache. Words said can never be withdrawn. It is better to breathe in deeply and carefully think what needs to be said.

David tells us the secret to having a long life in Psalm 34:12-14:

"Do any of you want to live a life that is long and good? Then watch your tongue! Keep your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others."

Did you notice the first secret to a long life? Watch your tongue! James also warns against this in James 1:26:

"If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself and your religion is worthless."

Don't have a worthless religion. Get all the facts of a situation together and think before you speak. You will save yourself a lot of regret and heartache.

Father please give us the patience and self control before we open our mouths. Please help us to rather consider all the aspects to a certain situation, to pray about it and then to speak Your words over a situation. We pray it in Jesus' Name. Amen

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