February 27

Read Numbers 32 -- 33

In Today 's Reading:

Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh settle east of the Jordan; a summary of Israel's 40 years in the wilderness

More than 40 years had passed since Moses, while still in Egypt, foretold that God would lead the Israelites to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. While moving with great anticipation toward the fulfillment of that promise, and almost in view of the promised land, two of the twelve tribes, those of Reuben and Gad, who had abundant herds of livestock, decided not to go on (Numbers 32:1). Believing they would be financially better off if they remained on the eastern side of the Jordan, they said to Moses: The land the LORD struck down before the Israelite community - is suited for livestock, and your servants own livestock. They said . . . let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Don't make us cross the Jordan (32:4-5). Moses replied: Why would you discourage the hearts of the Israelites from crossing into the land the LORD has given them (32:7)? The leaders of the two tribes were joined by half the tribe of Manasseh. Humanly speaking, it was a wise financial decision; but it was an act of compromise. The unity of the nation and being near the tabernacle and the presence of God should have been uppermost in their desires.

These two and one-half tribes typify self-indulgent "Christians" who foolishly allow physical advantages to compromise fulfilling the will of God. They stand as a warning to those whose business interests, social advancements, or attainment of prominence are chosen over how they can best serve the Lord. Some who claim to be Christians are consumed with worldly pursuits that keep them from giving their time and/or tithes to the Lord. Their spiritual indifference often causes their children to follow their example until the opportunity to influence them to live for the Lord is forever past.

The Lord's instructions concerning His will are also for us today. These things I am commanding you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children, speak of them when you are at home and when you go on a journey, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them on your hand as a sign, and let them be like a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house, and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

Christ Revealed:

Through the promised land — filled with abundance, as well as protection, for those who live in harmony with His Word (Numbers 33:50-54). I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance (John 10:10).

Prayer Needs:

Country: Saudi Arabia (22 million) on the Arabian Peninsula in southwestern Asia · Major language: Arabic · Christian worship services for foreign personnel are tolerated, but those who seek to convert Muslims to Christianity face persecution · 99% Muslim; 1% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Lift up your prayers with a spirit of thankfulness and praise to the Lord (Psalms 79:13).

Optional Reading: Luke 14

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11