Read Numbers 32
The Canaanites must be expelled before Israel can possess the promised land: In the fourth generation they (the Israelites) shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full (Gen. 15:16). A summary of the wilderness journeys — 39 years of wasted lives. But first, the time of judgment for Israel's compromising sins had come.
And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben . . . wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them? Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land (Num. 32:6-8).
Wherefore, said they . . . let this land (Jazer) be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan (32:1-5).
Down through the years, the devout worshiper looked forward to the fulfillment of the Lord's covenant with Abraham that his descendants would inherit the promised land. When it was time for the chosen people of God to cross the Jordan River and enter the promised land, the tribes of Reuben made the shameful request: Bring us not over the Jordan. What a contrast to the prayer of Moses: O Lord God . . . I pray Thee, let me go over (Deut. 3:24-25).
The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh evidently believed they would have greater opportunity for material sucess in the beautiful fertile valley they had won from the Amorites than in the land God had chosen. They asked Moses' permission to settle outside the promised land. Undoubtedly, they rejoiced and felt privileged when their request was granted. The powerful Reubenite tribe did not show any indication of rejecting Jehovah as their God, but their association with the heathen neighbors on the east side of Jordan eventually led them into idolatry. As a result, they were the first tribe of Israel to be taken captive (I Chr. 5:25-26).
Many Christians today are like the Reubenites. They are ignoring the Word of God and inclined to set their hearts on worldly advantages. The fulfillment of the promises of God may not be in the way we expected, but the spiritually minded are not as concerned in obtaining worldly gain as they are in being in the perfect will of God.
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known My ways (Heb. 3:10; Ps. 95:10). Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the Living God (Heb. 3:12).
Thought for Today:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (I John 2:15).
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).
32:4 smote, conquered; 32:11 followed, obeyed; 32:14 an increase, a brood; augment, increase, add to; 32:17 fenced, fortified, walled; 32:19 forward, beyond; 32:22 guiltless, free of obligation; 32:39 dispossessed, drove out; 33:2 goings out, starting places; 33:3 with an high hand, triumphantly; 33:52 pictures, objects of worship; quite pluck down, demolish; high places, places where shrines for idol worship were erected; 33:55 vex you, trouble you.
Pray for International Broadcasts: Sponsored by Charlotte Hall • Government Official: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL) • Country: Suriname (431,000) on the northeastern coast of South America • Major languages: Dutch and English • Very limited religious freedom • 27% Hindu; 22% Roman Catholic; 20% Protestant; 20% Muslim; 6% witchcraft and spirit worship • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for your brothers and sisters that they might be filled with spiritual discernment and the fullness of Christ (Eph. 3:14-18).
Optional Reading: Luke 14
Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 3:20