February 27, 2006

Read Numbers 32

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, which had a very great multitude of cattle (Numbers 32:1), decided they would be financially better off if they remained on the eastern side of the Jordan. So they said to Moses: The country which the LORD smote (conquered) before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle: Wherefore, said they . . . let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan (32:4-5). Moses replied: Wherefore (Why) discourage (frustrate, restrain) ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them? (32:7) They were joined by half the tribe of Manasseh (32:33). Humanly speaking, it was a wise financial decision; but, spiritually, it was an act of compromise. The unity of the nation and being near the Tabernacle with the presence of God should have been uppermost in their desires.

History records that they gradually became involved in idol worship and ignored the Lord's instructions: These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto (impress them on) thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and upon thy gates (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

However, the two-and-one-half tribes typify self-indulgent Christians who foolishly allow financial, social, or physical advantages to influence their decision making. Allowing worldly successes to override spiritual commitment is a slippery slope that will ultimately lead to miserable failure. Worldly pursuits also keep some from giving their time and/or tithes to the Lord. Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. . . . For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:24,26).

Word Studies:

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 = the places for idol worship.

Christ Revealed:

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

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Ezell Rosborough · Staff: Mary Kay Wagner · Government Official: Rep. Jeff Miller (FL) · Country: Laos (5 million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Lao and French · Great suppression of all Christian activities · 58% Buddhist; 33% belief in spirits and ancestor worship; 2% Christian; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Pray with a heart of righteousness, keeping the truth of God, and know He will hear your prayers (Isaiah 26:2).

Optional Reading: Luke 13

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 13:10