“Yes, it looks like King David wants to encourage you about the loss of your father, but what if he is really spying out the land, learning of your defenses and planning to invade you?”

The Ammonite king had died, and Israel’s king, David of Bethlehem, sent a delegation to sympathize with the new king over the loss of his father (II Samuel 10:2).  But the Ammonite nobles convinced Hanun, the new king, that David was being deceptive and preparing to invade them.  “What if?” they said. 

King David was not planning on invading.  

King Hanun, seized David’s delegation, shaved off their beards, humiliated them and sent them on their way.   David did nothing. 

Deciding that they had been offensive to David and Israel, the Ammonite king mobilized his soldiers, assuming David would retaliate.  He didn’t.  

But hearing that King Hanun mobilized his troops, then David acted. He also mobilized for war. Forty thousand, seven hundred (40,700) Ammonite and mercenary soldiers died.  All because of an unsubstantiated suspicion of guilt.

A woman misinterprets an innocent comment. She is suspicious of what sounds like a predatory question.  Absolutely convinced she is being advanced upon, she mobilizes the pastor and elders.  But “To the pure, all things are pure” (Titus 1:15) does not fit their narrative, so it is ignored. Other passages (Matthew 18:15,  15:18,  Proverbs 18:17) did not apply. There was a rush to judgment, guilt was assumed.  So humiliated, rejected, and falsely accused the man leaves protesting his innocence.   

“What if” can consume a great deal of emotional and mental energy.  Preparing for all possibilities is consuming.  I am not saying leaders should not be diligent, but they should not give an abnormal emphasis to the “what ifs” of life.  Hanun did and it cost a lot.