Highlights In Today's Reading:
God had promised Abram: In the fourth generation they (the Israelites) shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full (Gen. 15:16). But now they and the rest of the Canaanites must be expelled before Israel can possess the promised land. What a sad summary of the wilderness journeys we read — 38 years of wasted lives.
Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh were not the first to allow possessions to come between them and the will of the Lord. Like Lot, many have a desire for worldly gain, social advantages, or personal preeminence, while they are blinded to the precious values of spiritual treasures.
Canaan was first promised to Abraham and, down through the years, men of faith looked forward to the fulfillment of the Covenant God made with Abraham that his children would inherit the promised land. When the day finally arrived for the privileged people to claim the long-awaited promised land, Reuben, Gad and Manasseh made the shameful request: Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle. . . . If we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan. And Moses said. . . . wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them? (Num. 32:1,5-7). What a contrast to the prayer of Moses: O Lord God, I pray Thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan (Deut. 3:25).
For Reuben, such was the pattern of his life. He lived to gratify himself in the present. He brought dishonor to his father (Gen. 49:3-4) and his descendants brought dishonor to the Heavenly Father by saying bring us not over Jordan. Undoubtedly they rejoiced and felt privileged when their unwise request for material advantage was granted. Like the Reubenites, many among God's people today seek worldly possessions and advantages.
God's greatest gifts and most precious promises seldom look as attractive to the natural man as his own idea of what is best. From a natural point of view it looked far more promising to choose the land this side of Jordan. As Christians we have no options; we have a Divine calling to yield our lives to fulfill the will of God who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (II Tim. 1:9).
Thought for Today:
When we follow our own logic, we are settling for far less than the best of God.
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 augment =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 a 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 =be a source of trouble.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Dr. John A. Hash • Staff: Pam Pendergrast • Country: Cambodia (12 million) in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Khmer and French • Confused and unsettled at this time • 88% Buddhist; 3% animism and spirit worship; 2% Muslim; .6% Roman Catholic/Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Thank the Lord that you have no need to fear. Trust Him one day at a time (Matt. 6:33-34).
Optional Reading: Luke 14
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:10