Read Numbers 32
The Amorites and the rest of the Canaanites must be expelled before Israel can possess the promised land. Sad summary of the wilderness journeys — 38 years of wasted lives.
Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh asked for permission to settle in the territory recently captured on the east side of Jordan — just across from the Jordan River, but just outside, the promised land. The children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land . . . behold, the place was a place for cattle . . . Wherefore, said they . . . bring us not over Jordan. . . . And Moses said . . . Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them? . . . Be sure your sin will find you out (Num. 32:1-23). Their reasoning was that it was an excellent area for their very great multitude of cattle. This may have been good reasoning from a financial point of view for remaining outside the promised land, but it was one of compromise. Only one judge or deliverer came from these tribes. Jephthah was a Gileadite.
The God-appointed territory for all the tribes was inside Canaan, not nearby. The two-and-one-half tribes were willing to give up their birthright in the Promised Land for what appeared to be material gain. The unity of the nation, their nearness to the Tabernacle, and the presence of God should have been the choices that were uppermost in their desires.
Neither the Reubenites nor the Gadites show any indication of rejecting Jehovah as their God. They still expected the blessings and security of God, but did not want to give up the lush grasslands to fulfill His will. Their association with heathen neighbors on the east side of Jordan soon led them into idolatry, so they were the first of the tribes to be taken captive (I Chr. 5:25-26).
Many Christians today resemble the Reubenites and the Gadites, whose decisions were influenced by material advantages. Business, social advancement or an atmosphere of prominence often are chosen rather than the will of God. A worldly policy often overrules spiritual separation, but it is self-deceiving and self-defeating. We cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). People who are faithful and obedient always find ways to please God; others will settle for excuses.
They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Gal. 5:24).
Thought for Today:
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matt. 6:13).
Through the promised land — filled with abundance, as well as protection, for those who live in harmony with His Word (Num. 33:50-54). I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
32:14 augment increase; 32:39 dispossessed drove out; 33:2 goings out starting places; 33:52 pictures carved figures that were objects of worship; quite pluck down completely destroy; high places places for idol worship.
Pray for Staff: Dr. John A. Hash • Country: United Arab Emirates (2 million) on the eastern Arabian Peninsula • Major languages: Arabic and Farsi • Pressure and hostility against Christians are increasing • 95% Muslim; 4% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and fast in secret so that only the Lord knows (Acts 10:30).
Optional Reading: Luke 14
Memory Verse for the Week: Exodus 20:6