The definition of a rumour is a currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth. The problem is compounded when these rumours are believed and acted upon without first of all determining the veracity of the hearsay or gossip.
There's an incident in the biblical Book of Joshua that teaches us a very important lesson today. The Israelites had been very successful. Under Joshua, they had conquered the land of Canaan, it took them about five years. And now they finally had their own land. And they were splitting it up between the different tribes, and then the different clans, and then the different families, and they were gonna set up and everybody was gonna be able to have land and grow food and build houses. And it was just this pinnacle of success. And two and a half of the tribes decided they wanted to go to the other side of the Jordan. And Joshua said, "Fine, go over there and take that land." And then this is what happens.
"Now, the children of Israel heard someone say, 'Behold the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, have built an altar on the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region of the Jordan, on the children of Israel side. And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered together at Shiloh to go to war against them.'"
And so what you have now is they've just fought a war to receive this land that God said He would give to them. And now they're about to fight a civil war. And fortunately, they thought this through a little bit. So they sent some emissaries to the leaders of those other tribes and said, "Why did you build this great altar?" Because you see, they had been instructed that they could only do sacrifices where the tabernacle was. And so this was seen as a rejection of the God of Israel. And this was a massive altar. And they said, "Why did you do this? Why have you gone against God?" And they showed up, and they accuse them of doing all kinds of terrible sins, and that if they didn't repent, then the rest of Israel was going to attack them. And what they heard surprised them. The Elders of those other tribes said, "That's not why we built that. That's a monument. We build it on that side of the Jordan because we want our children through generations to come down to the Jordan River and look over the Jordan and see this massive monument and remember, those are our people over there, we're part of them. So this monument is built to be a reminder that Israel is one nation."
They came that close to a civil war because remember what it said? "Someone said," someone said. Bible doesn't record who said it. After a while, they probably didn't know who said it. And here this great achievement was about to be destroyed in bloodshed, because someone said. How many great achievements in life? How many relationships between friends and brethren and family members have been destroyed because someone said? That's the power of a rumor. And that's the danger of a rumor. Next time you get upset because of what someone's said, next time you have a relationship that's about to crumble because of what someone said, go talk to the other people. Go find out what really happened, because "Someone said," can be one of the greatest detriments in your life.
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